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Aug 29 2012

“Legitimate Differences of Opinion”

One of the comments I’ve seen repeatedly in the discussions about Atheism+ goes something like this: “Well, everybody is for social justice. That doesn’t mean we’re all going to agree on how to achieve it, though. What happens when we don’t?” Debbie Goddard hit us with a version of the question during the Hangout we did last weekend (transcript now available).

I answered Debbie then, but honestly, Jen covered this right up front:

We are…
Atheists plus we care about social justice,
Atheists plus we support women’s rights,
Atheists plus we protest racism,
Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.

Emphasis added.

We have an excellent way to address our differences. It’s the same way we settle our other differences–with science and reason. We look at the claims made by both sides. We determine whether each is internally consistent. If they are, we look at the evidence available to us, interrogate the methods used to collect it, and weigh it to determine which claims are true. Sometimes one side wins. Sometimes there is compromise because both have basic flaws. Sometimes everyone goes their own way because the evidence doesn’t exist yet.

It isn’t a simple thing to do, but it is what best gets us at the truth.

Many of the people complaining most insistently about the formation of Atheist+ are also among the number who claim that they are feminists, just “equity feminists”. They claim to be the true advocates for social justice. They claim that the “gender feminists” at FtB, Skepchick, and elsewhere are the oppressive force in this argument. We, of course, disagree. But who is correct? Is there one form of feminism that is based more on real-world data? Is there one that leads to more freedom?

It is worth noting that the term “equity feminism” originates in the work of Christina Hoff Sommers, who is aligned with groups working for conservative political causes, but that alone doesn’t tell us whether her philosophy is correct. In order to figure that out, we have to look at her philosophy itself. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines “equity feminism” thus:

Classical liberal or libertarian feminism conceives of freedom as freedom from coercive interference. It holds that women, as well as men, have a right to such freedom due to their status as self-owners. It holds that coercive state power is justified only to the extent necessary to protect the right to freedom from coercive interference. Equity feminists are classical liberal or libertarian feminists who hold that, in societies like the United States, the only morally significant source of oppression of women is the state. They hold that feminism’s political role is to bring an end to laws that limit women’s liberty in particular, but also to laws that grant special privileges to women. Some equity feminists see a nonpolitical role for feminism, helping women to benefit from their freedom by developing beneficial character traits or strategies for success, or navigating among their increasing options. Other equity feminists are socially conservative and argue that, while the state should not enforce them, traditional values function as bulwarks against state power and produce independent and self-restraining citizens.

At its most basic level, equity feminism appears to be fairly internally consistent. The devil, of course, is always in the details, which are short here. Either way, there are definitely truth claims here that can be examined.

  • Is there coercive interference outside the state that leads to the oppression of women?
  • Do laws that treat women differently than men grant special privileges instead of or beyond protecting from coercive interference?
  • Does developing “beneficial character traits or strategies for success” eliminate any coercive interference so that no state (or local proxy for the state, given the scope of recent discussions) intervention is required?
  • Do “traditional values” decrease state power?
  • Do they promote “independent and self-restraining citizens?

So I’d like to lay out a challenge to those who feel that Atheism+ excludes them because it doesn’t recognize equity feminism as a legitimate form of social justice activism. We “gender feminists” have been backing ourselves up with data: studies on baseline inequalities, studies demonstrating coercive interference, studies on the oppressive effects of various social phenomena. (See the Pharyngula wiki, which contains many of these.) I haven’t seen the same from the people who feel we are excluding them unfairly.

Let’s change that. Equity feminists, give me data.

Normal commenting moderation doesn’t apply on this post. People who are normally banned get another chance. If you’ve got studies that back up your beliefs, post them here. They’ll get through, though associated insults won’t. Give me the best you’ve got that says you’re right and I’m wrong and women really are already equal in treatment.

Everyone else, hold off on the old battles for a thread. Save this one for examining the evidence we’re given. I’m sure there will plenty to critique on method. Let’s give this equity feminism stuff its fairest shot and see where we end up. As a cookie, there should be some top-level threads devoted to sifting the data. I’m more than happy to make some of them guest posts/promoted comments.

Everybody ready then? Go.

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  1. 1
    'Tis Himself

    …in societies like the United States, the only morally significant source of oppression of women is the state.

    One of the things I find most annoying about libertarians is their idea that government is the only coercive thing in existence. I get up every morning at 4:45, not because I want to, but because my employer says I will be at my desk at a certain time. Because I hold an office in an organization, I have to attend weekly meetings even though I’d prefer to spend my Wednesday evenings doing something else. Last Saturday I wanted to go sailing but the wife insisted I do something else. I get more “or else” orders from my boss in a week than I get from the police in ten years.

  2. 2
    Tige Gibson

    It isn’t sufficient to be opposed to religious institutions, nor merely the conservative ones. We must also be opposed to political cults such as Libertarianism and its offshoots (eg. “Tea Party”) just as much as Communism and its offshoots. The right-left is more than just a spectrum, it’s a bell curve with all the least thinkers at both tails.

  3. 3
    smrnda

    Anybody who thinks that the only form of coercion comes from the State is living in fantasy land. It’s like arguing that as long as the law does not openly prohibit racial minorities from having certain jobs they will have an equal chance to get hired by (white) employers as anyone else.

    There are many sources of power, and economic power is pretty significant. Plus, why did the government discriminate against Black people? Why? Because the people with the wealth and power to influence the government were white.

    I think the libertarian idea of the State as this entity which is totally separate from the general public or the business world is false as well. Governments aren’t things that drop down, fully formed and autonomous, from space and impose themselves on a geographic territory.

    This quote “the only morally significant source of oppression of women is the state.”

    Note the phrase ‘morally significant’ – I think this is a basic tenet of libertarianism – all other power structures, the family, the business, are somehow authentic and legitimate, but not the State. The idea that governments are things people actually get to take part in and shape the sort of society they live in is something that just can’t be discussed – libertarian rhetoric is aimed at making that *unthinkable.*

  4. 4
    Stephanie Zvan

    This doesn’t look much like waiting for the equity feminists to present evidence.

    smrnda, the “morally significant” argument may be relevant to equity feminism in general, but it doesn’t seem to be in the “I’m just an equity feminist instead of a gender feminist” arguments I’ve seen in this community. It seems particularly irrelevant here since there has been definite pushback against power structures that are not the state.

  5. 5
    Jacques Cuze

    I am curious as to why you find the Plato article authoritative. It’s author Amy Baehr, is a critic of what she describes as “conservative feminism” saying,

    Conservatism, Feminism, and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese — Amy R. Baehr — Forthcoming in Hypatia 24(2) April-June 2009

    Feminism is committed to listening to the voices of women, including conservative women. Fox-Genovese’s voice urges feminists today to reconcile women to conventional social forms. It has been argued here that feminism cannot heed that call. But conservative voices, like Fox-Genovese’s have serious suggestions to make about how normative political philosophy should proceed, and about women’s well-being. Indeed, we do not have to call Fox-Genovese’s thinking ‘feminist’ to acknowledge that it is a serious form of advocacy on behalf of women, and that as such it can be fruitfully included in discussions about what is good for women.

    I believe you can reach Christina Hoff Sommers through the AEI, her page their lists an email address and phone number.

    Might I encourage you to invite her in for some guest blogging, a teach-in, or a debate?

  6. 6
    Stephanie Zvan

    Jacques, as with Hoff Sommers, merely acknowledging a political position does not invalidate the claim. Do you have a definition of equity feminism that makes truth claims that are different than these? If so, do you have data to back up those claims?

  7. 7
    Jacques Cuze

    Very seriously, I would benefit and enjoy and value a series of debate-like or seminar-like blog posts between an identified “equity feminist” and a “gender feminist” to discuss the primary similarities and differences between the two philosophies.

    At that point, once everyone has a better understanding of what the two philosophies stand for and how they differ, that might be a better time to ask for data and compare papers.

  8. 8
    Jacques Cuze

    Hi Stephanie,

    “Jacques, as with Hoff Sommers, merely acknowledging a political position does not invalidate the claim. Do you have a definition of equity feminism that makes truth claims that are different than these? If so, do you have data to back up those claims?”

    I am not exactly sure what you are asking for. I certainly cannot provide anything more than a layperson’s definition of equity feminism any better than one can find at the wikipedia. But there are aspects of equity feminism described by Ms. Baehr that I do not recognize from my prior reading about equity feminism.

    That’s why I ask why the Plato description is taken as authoritative, especially since Ms. Baehr herself seems to be fairly critical that there could be such a thing as “conservative feminism” (not that conservative feminism would be or is equity feminism.) This is a question more about my ignorance of the Plato site. Is it peer reviewed? Is it a open process?

    And that’s why I suggest that you invite Ms. Sommers in directly. I know she blogs occasionally, I would like to think she would be open to your invitation.

  9. 9
    Stephanie Zvan

    Jacques, are you among the people who are saying Atheism+ will unfairly exclude them based only on differing definitions of feminism, particularly equity feminism? If you are, please provide the definition of feminism you’re working with. If you’re not, this post isn’t about you.

    I don’t care what Hoff Sommers wants to say in a debate. I care about people thinking they’re being excluded based on dogma.

  10. 10
    Jacques Cuze

    I haven’t said that Atheism+ will exclude equity feminists, because I do not know. I have asked if a member of Atheism+ can be skeptical of various aspects of feminism because I do align myself more with equity feminism than with, well, I’ll call it “modern feminism”? (What’s a good name?)

  11. 11
    Jacques Cuze

    I have to say that wikipedia page is pretty vague. Wikipedia is so frustrating. One month a page is clear and accurate and easily understood and then a month or so later, it’s completely different, and not necessarily for the better.

    I’ll try to find a definition….

  12. 12
    LeftSidePositive

    Very seriously, I would benefit and enjoy and value a series of debate-like or seminar-like blog posts between an identified “equity feminist” and a “gender feminist” to discuss the primary similarities and differences between the two philosophies.

    Here you go, Jacques:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGArqoF0TpQ

    In all seriousness, if you can’t even articulate the validity of a position and provide some reasonable background evidence, why should everyone else drop everything to give you an equal forum? We can’t seriously have every creationist, homeopath, and Kennedy conspiracist guest post on Stephanie’s blog, so I simply ask you: WHY should we give “equity feminism” any top-level attention? What does it have to recommend itself? What brilliant insights has it drawn? Why can’t you just summarize those insights in a blog post that is specifically asking for that evidence and those arguments? Are these arguments wilting flowers that can only flourish if they are given VIP treatment?

    By the way, I don’t think you can have a debate with a “gender feminist” because they don’t actually exist–they are strawfeminists that CHS made up to pretend that women speaking up about systemic discrimination are trying to be “victims,” and to explicitly and repeatedly claim that a focus on legal reforms, apparently exclusively, makes a “traditional” or “equity” feminist. By the way, the link has CHS’s definitions in her own words, and is part 1 of 3 in a series on what is so wrong with them.

    Moreover, if you cannot even articulate what you yourself “align with” (your words), what does that even MEAN for your position? You can’t even provide a working definition for what you subscribe to? Then how could you possibly actually subscribe to it? I’m not saying it has to be the most beautifully-phrased thing ever, but a few sentences of the basic goals of what draws you in as principal values really shouldn’t be too hard.

  13. 13
    Steersman

    Stephanie said,

    So I’d like to lay out a challenge to those who feel that Atheism+ excludes them because it doesn’t recognize equity feminism as a legitimate form of social justice activism. We “gender feminists” have been backing ourselves up with data: studies on baseline inequalities, studies demonstrating coercive interference, studies on the oppressive effects of various social phenomena. … Let’s change that. Equity feminists, give me data.

    Apart from the question of exclusion, I think you might be starting from a problematic definition of “gender feminism”. Here’s something from Wikipedia on the topic:

    In contrast to equity feminism, Sommers coined the term “Gender feminism” to describe what she contends is a gynocentric and misandric branch of feminism. Gender feminists typically criticize contemporary gender roles and aim to eliminate them altogether …

    While I don’t think that is entirely accurate, I would say that there are some branches of feminist ideology that might reasonably be construed as “gynocentric and misandric”:

    Barbara Jordan:

    “I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which man structurally does not have, does not have it because he cannot have it. He’s just incapable of it.”

    Judith Levine:

    A woman who has sex with a man, therefore, does so against her will, ‘even if she does not feel forced.’”
    “I feel what they feel: man-hating, that volatile admixture of pity, contempt, disgust, envy, alienation, fear, and rage at men. ….”

    Valerie Solanas:

    “Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation, and destroy the male sex.”
    “To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine, a walking dildo.”

    Robin Morgan:

    “I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honourable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.”

    So I think the question is less one of the relative merits and definitions of gender and equity feminism as more about the premises and hypotheses at the core of feminism itself. While the basic concept of equal rights for men and women is perfectly acceptable as a general goal, it tends to get conflated with various political objectives and perspectives. For instance, Jadehawk quotes these problematic “theses” from an essay on Feminist Theory:

    The most important accomplishment of 20th-century feminist theory is the concept of gender as a social construction; that is, the idea that masculinity and femininity are loosely defined, historically variable, and interrelated social ascriptions to persons with certain kinds of bodies ….

    Thus men and masculinity play a crucial role in feminist theory, the body of thought that seeks to understand women’s social situation and to articulate justice from a woman-centered perspective.

    However, that whole “gender as a social construction” is predicated on postmodernism which is anything but a slam-dunk. Hence arguing that feminism – that “woman-centered perspective” – is sufficient to address “male-centered perspectives” appears rather risible at best and, at worst, bordering on outright dogma.

  14. 14
    Stephanie Zvan

    Not my definition of “gender feminism”, actually. I don’t claim the label. The people who are calling themselves equity feminists are placing it on me at the same time they’re claiming that theirs is the skeptical position. That makes the rest of your comment moot.

    The challenge is still for them to back up their position with data. Though you could feel free to back up that claim that “gender as a social construction” is problematic. There’s a lot of data demonstrating how gender is imposed from without. What do you have that demonstrates otherwise, aside from labeling it “postmodernism”?

  15. 15
    Jacques Cuze

    I think the best, most succinct operational definition of equity feminism, that I found surfing around, is from Sommers, Who Stole Feminism? — Sommers, 1994,I consider myself a mainstream equity feminist. And I believe most American women subscribe philosophically to the classical, first-wave kind of feminism whose main goal is equity, especially in politics and education. A first-wave mainstream or equity feminist wants for women what she wants for everyone: fair treatment, no discrimination.

    Roughly paraphrased as “Equity feminism seeks to remove any barriers found in law or education to women’s progress.”

    I would strongly recommend that people wishing to compare equity and gender feminism go right to the source: either Sommer’s books, or her papers at the AEI, and not just stand on what they have heard from other sources on the net. I would think that would be the “skeptical” approach.

    In that light, Stephanie, your statements,

    “Save this one for examining the evidence we’re given. I’m sure there will plenty to critique on method. Let’s give this equity feminism stuff its fairest shot and see where we end up.”

    and

    “I don’t care what Hoff Sommers wants to say in a debate. I care about people thinking they’re being excluded based on dogma.”

    are confusing to me and seem contradictory.

    I will be eager to see what “data” appear. One of Sommer’s complaints is that bias in the academy leads to equity feminism being a very small minority. I don’t know how to size that or how to predict if there are studies and data to discuss.

  16. 16
    Jacques Cuze

    LeftSidePositive,

    WHY should we give “equity feminism” any top-level attention?

    Well according to the wiki, and to the Plato page, equity feminism is acknowledged to be a branch of feminism. Scholars have adopted CHS’s terminology in that regard. [citation needed :)]

    And then, according to Ms. Zvan, there are significant people asking her about the relationship between Atheism+ and equity feminism.

    So I would say, as proper skeptics, isn’t this reason enough to pay it top-level attention?

    By the way, I don’t think you can have a debate with a “gender feminist” because they don’t actually exist–they are strawfeminists that CHS made up to pretend that women speaking up about systemic discrimination are trying to be “victims,” and to explicitly and repeatedly claim that a focus on legal reforms, apparently exclusively, makes a “traditional” or “equity” feminist.

    I believe that Sommers, Patai, Koertge, Paglia, and many other academics have made the case that “gender feminism” and the “gender feminism problem” in academia are not a strawperson.

    Moreover, if you cannot even articulate what you yourself “align with” (your words), what does that even MEAN for your position?

    It means I am a skeptic, and learning.

    That you reject this, seemingly so furiously, and out of hand, what does that even MEAN for your position?

  17. 17
    Steve Schuler

    Thanks for the excerpt from, and the link to, the SEP article titled “Liberal Feminism”. I found it an interesting and informative article that certainly communicates something of the complexity and divisions within the broad term “feminism”. It makes no mention of Gender Feminism, however a quick web search top posts this article on Wikipedia for either term “Gender Feminism” or “Equity Feminsim”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equity_and_gender_feminism

    From that brief article I quote Steven Pinker, an advocate of equity feminism;

    “Equity feminism is a moral doctrine about equal treatment that makes no commitments regarding open empirical issues in psychology or biology.”

    Also from that article;

    “In contrast to equity feminism, Sommers coined the term “Gender feminism” to describe what she contends is a gynocentric and misandric branch of feminism. Gender feminists typically criticize contemporary gender roles and aim to eliminate them altogether.”

    “Sommers argues that gender feminism characterizes most of the body of modern feminist theory, and is the prevailing ideology in academia. She argues that while the feminists she designates as gender feminists advocate preferential treatment and portraying “all women as victims”, equity feminism provides a viable alternative form of feminism to those who object to elements of gender feminist ideology.”

    For more on Sommers, see her Wikipedia entry here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina_Hoff_Sommers

    From that article:

    “Although her critics refer to her as anti-feminist, Sommers is a self-described “equity feminist” who faults contemporary feminism for “its irrational hostility to men, its recklessness with facts and statistics, and its inability to take seriously the possibility that the sexes are equal—but different.”

    And:

    “Sommers uses the terms “equity feminism” and “gender feminism” to differentiate what she sees as acceptable and non-acceptable forms of feminism. She describes equity feminism as the struggle based upon “Enlightenment principles of individual justice” for equal legal and civil rights and many of the original goals of the early feminists, as in the first wave of the women’s movement. She describes “gender feminism” as having “transcended the liberalism” of early feminists. Instead of focusing on rights for all, gender feminists view society through the “sex/gender prism” and focus on recruiting women to join the “struggle against patriarchy.”

    A libertarian identity is certainly not a prerequisite to seeing the validity of her assessment of modern feminism and I, as a socialist, very much concur with her perspective.

  18. 18
    LeftSidePositive

    One of Sommer’s complaints is that bias in the academy leads to equity feminism being a very small minority.

    Oh, I didn’t realized she hailed from the Ben Stein “Expelled” school of self-defining martyrdom!

    By the way, being uninterested in Christina Hoff Sommers debating is NOT contradictory to hearing what people who think their legitimate viewpoint is being excluded here. Setting aside for a moment the extreme unlikelihood that CHS would deign to comment on a niche blog, she is likely also unfamiliar with movement atheism/skepticism and would probably not be well-versed in what the background arguments around here and what viewpoints have been excluded and why (which is the whole damn point of this post!). Furthermore, the point is not “let’s give CHS a platform to show **both sides**!!!” it’s “show me the data.” Anyone can do that in a comment section, so pony up. In the highly unlikely event that CHS is reading this, she could certainly show up in the comments and present her data for discussion, as good data is good regardless of who presents it.

    So, why do you believe what you do? Why do you align yourself with “equity feminism”? What data do you have to support its conclusions? If you would rather spend multiple comments whining about why the perfect someone else isn’t providing data than providing the data and/or arguments that convinced you, how is that showing us you arrived at your opinions with anything close to any reflection?

  19. 19
    Jacques Cuze

    Stephanie,

    I apologize if I am misrepresenting yout, but you ask a series of 5 questions that you believe should test predictions made by equity feminism. And you believe you can provide studies showing that these 5 questions are answered better with contemporary feminist viewpoints.

    But what I think you are missing is what Ms. Baehr states:

    Equity feminists are classical liberal or libertarian feminists who hold that, in societies like the United States, the only morally significant source of oppression of women is the state.

    Given that, the answer to your questions may be mu.

    I am not a philosopher, but the question here is a contrast in morals, so your questions seem skew. I don’t know how to proceed further to resolution.

    It seems to be more of a case of, can a libertarian be a member of Atheism+?

  20. 20
    Steve Schuler

    By the way, Stephanie, if you identify neither as an ‘equity’ or ‘gender’ feminist in this discussion, how would you describe or define yourself?

  21. 21
    Sunil D'Monte

    I’ve seen CHS and her fans use the phrase “Equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome”. That’s a classic phrase that people of privilege use. Only they get to decide what constitutes “equality of opportunity” of course. And it usually means, “We have laws that prohibit discrimination against XYZ. Equality of opportunity!” I’ve seen anti-reservation caste apologists use that phrase here in India too. They are ignorant about sociology – about how oppressive social systems operate.

    CHS also invokes “innate sex differences” to explain why there are less women in STEM fields, for example. As Rebecca Jordan-Young’s book “Brain Storm” showed (short talk by her here), that’s not supported by science either.

  22. 22
    Steersman

    That makes the rest of your comment moot.

    The first part of my comment was specifically to get away from the problematic terms of gender and equity feminism. So your comment looks like a somewhat disingenuous attempt to discount and reject mine without due consideration – you know, to use “science and reason to settle our differences”.

    There’s a lot of data demonstrating how gender is imposed from without. What do you have that demonstrates otherwise, aside from labeling it “postmodernism”?

    I’ll concede that some is “imposed from without”. But all of it? Particularly in light of biology and genetics? That looks rather like dogma to me.

    As for “postmodernism”, you might want to take a look at the Sokal Hoax and this review from Richard Dawkins on the related book.

    You said you wanted data; I would suggest that you might want to actually read even those basic introductions to the problem first. But if feminism is heavily dependent on some postmodernism and that is suspect then feminism is likewise. Rejecting that thesis out-of-hand without evaluating the evidence again tends to suggest dogma.

  23. 23
    LeftSidePositive

    @Jacques, #16:

    Well according to the wiki, and to the Plato page, equity feminism is acknowledged to be a branch of feminism.

    Acknowledged by whom? And how? Just the fact that some people claim the label may make it a branch in someone’s eyes, but by that definition “creation science” is a branch of science!

    Scholars have adopted CHS’s terminology in that regard. [citation needed :) ]

    So what is your definition of a scholar? Are these scholars with actual expertise or are they people who are wading out of their field of study and lacking necessary background? Just putting a cheeky “citation needed” doesn’t erase your need eliminate your need to actually provide that citation.

    And then, according to Ms. Zvan, there are significant people asking her about the relationship between Atheism+ and equity feminism.

    That is a good reason to ask for evidence here in this blog post. It is NOT enough to give a viewpoint implied credibility with a top-level post. People have questions–this is the place to give your best shot at an answer why those questions should be taken seriously. Why are you wasting it on all this meta junk instead of giving a reason?

    So I would say, as proper skeptics, isn’t this reason enough to pay it top-level attention?

    No, that is just argument from popularity. Just the fact that people are making the claim doesn’t mean that we have to take it seriously UNTIL THEY PROVIDE SOME VALID ARGUMENT WHY WE SHOULD.

    I don’t have time to look into every Quantum Healing claim, every Energy Bands claim, and every God claim–these don’t get top-level invitations to make their cases here, so WHY should equity feminism be different? Provide some data in its favor or some compelling argument…

    I believe that Sommers, Patai, Koertge, Paglia, and many other academics have made the case that “gender feminism” and the “gender feminism problem” in academia are not a strawperson.

    Again, all you’ve shown is that some people call OTHERS this term in order to declare them a problem, but that no one calls themselves it–this is evidence, albeit indirect, that it’s rather strawmannish…If you actually read the three-part series to which I linked you would know that it already goes into a discussion about the applicability and usefulness of labeling others, and why Sommers is “doin it rong,” as the kids these days say.

    And what is that case? You are just saying that others have made a case. You haven’t even summarized what it is, or why we should take it seriously. Do you know what the case is? Do you understand it? Do you agree with it? Until you communicate this I feel no need to take your claim seriously.

    It means I am a skeptic, and learning.

    NO. Absolutely fucking NO. You said you aligned with this position. How can you still be learning about a position (and apparently so ignorant of it that you can’t string together ONE DAMN SENTENCE about its intellectual merits?!) and decide before you’ve adequately evaluated it to align with it? Aligning with a position before you’ve learned about it is the exact OPPOSITE of skepticism. Really–that’s just definitional!

    That you reject this, seemingly so furiously, and out of hand,

    I didn’t reject anything, much less out of hand. I asked you for evidence, and I asked you for your statement of your beliefs, both of which you have utterly failed to provide. How could I be any more open to hearing you out than ASKING FOR YOUR POSITION?! How could I possibly accept or even respect your position if I have no idea what it is? And especially if YOU seem to have no idea what it is?

    Oh, and thanks for the tone trolling. Being willfully evasive is going to get people to criticize you rather sharply because it’s annoying as hell–the character flaw is with you and your willful evasion.

    what does that even MEAN for your position?

    It means I have a rudimentary understanding of the term “skepticism,” in which you are apparently sorely lacking.

  24. 24
    Jacques Cuze

    LeftSidePositive,

    Acknowledged by whom?

    You seem very argumentative and attached to this point, because you’ve made it now a couple of times in different ways, but apparently by Plato and people asking Stephanie questions as well as many others academics and contemporary feminists and feminist critics.

    It means I have a rudimentary understanding of the term “skepticism,” in which you are apparently sorely lacking.

    Since you insist on insulting me, over and over, again, our conversation here is done.

    I am not here for you to just abuse at will.

  25. 25
    LeftSidePositive

    @20–nice job sneaking that “all” in there. That’s what’s known as a strawman, as handily exposed by PZ here

    Go read Delusions Of Gender. Listen to that Southern Baptist preacher advocating violence against kids if they don’t conform to appropriate gender roles. How about Anita Sarkeesian’s abundant analysis of how toy ads shape gender attitudes? How about Sarah Haskins’ deconstruction of enforcement of gender roles through advertising to adults? How about “Sex-Stereotyped and Nonstereotyped Introductions of New Toys in the Preschool Classroom: An Observational Study of Teacher Behavior and Its Effects” which found that whether or not the adult presents a toy as gender-stereotyped affects how/whether children will play with it? What about the huge differences in how people of certain genders should act across cultures and across time?

    I am not absolutely opposed to biological differences in behavior between men and women, but this is a claim, and one that requires evidence. (Not to mention one that has been propped up with bad evidence and found lacking many, many times!) So my refusing to listen to a pet theory is not “dogmatic”–it is just not wasting my time until you’ve met the burden of proof.

  26. 26
    LeftSidePositive

    Jacques:

    You seem very argumentative and attached to this point,

    Well, you haven’t answered it, so what the hell else am I supposed to do? Be satisfied with your evasions?! Nope, sorry, that’s not going to fly.

    By the way, just saying I’m “argumentative” as a way to refuse to meet your burden of proof is lazy and disreputable, not to mention blatant tone trolling.

    but apparently by Plato

    All the Plato article is saying is that “equity feminism” as a term exists, not that it is actually interesting or worthy of being invited to debate as an intellectual equal. Just that someone listing a catalogue trying to be comprehensive of all labels doesn’t mean any view catalogued therein actually has merit. Remember: the question was “Why is ‘equity feminism’ deserving of being given a privileged platform?” and all you’ve done is to say that other people think it’s important, and haven’t said WHY.

    and people asking Stephanie questions

    First, this is vague. Second, this doesn’t meet any reasonable standards of a legitimate source of inquiry. I’m sure many, MANY more people have asked PZ Myers why he doesn’t believe in creationism than have asked Stephanie about “equity feminism,” but a number of people emailing a blogger about their pet issue is no indication WHATSOEVER that the issue itself has merit.

    as well as many others academics and contemporary feminists and feminist critics.

    WHO? Are you at least capable of understanding that it is absolutely impossible for someone to see inside your head and figure out to whom you’re referring with this? Do you realize that this vague assertion does not let us assess either the merit of the academics in general or the actual arguments they’re making?

    Since you insist on insulting me, over and over, again, our conversation here is done.

    So why is it so hard for you to just provide a summary of what you believe and why? Why do you insist on griping about my tone while failing to substantiate your position in any way? If you actually COULD substantiate your position, wouldn’t it be quicker to just do so and show me wrong than keep griping like this?!

    I am not here for you to just abuse at will.

    Apparently you thought you were here to have your third-hand assertions accommodated uncritically. People pointing out that you have not provided any evidence or explanation for your views is not “abuse,” and neither is people getting exasperated when you fail to do so multiple times.

  27. 27
    Steersman

    LeftSidePositive (#23),

    Go read Delusions Of Gender. Listen to that Southern Baptist preacher advocating violence against kids …

    All of what you say seems quite easily encompassed by my “some”: I’ll concede that some is “imposed from without”. Some is nurture and some is nature. The problem comes when some feminists apparently insist on saying it is all nurture. For instance, here’s a quote from Steven Pinker which seems apropos:

    Many of us have been puzzled by the takeover of humanities departments by the doctrines of postmodernism, poststructuralism, and deconstruction, according to which objectivity is impossible, meaning is self-contradictory, and reality is socially constructed. The motives become clearer when we consider typical statements like “Human beings have constructed and used gender – human beings can deconstruct and stop using gender”, and “The heterosexual/homosexual binary is not in nature, but is socially constructed, and therefore deconstructable”. [How the Mind Works; pg 57]

    Those quotes of his look rather much like categorical statements to me. Hence giving some suggestion that dogmatism is in play, not “science and reason” ….

    I am not absolutely opposed to biological differences in behavior between men and women, but this is a claim, and one that requires evidence.

    And where is your evidence that all “differences in behaviour between men and women” are due only to “social constructions”? Extraordinary claims and extraordinary evidence and all that …

  28. 28
    Smhll

    @15

    If laws are all we need to establish equality, then how did “bias in the academy” get there, what mechanism does it use to harm people, and how can bias be removed — with laws?

  29. 29
    Jacques Cuze

    The PZ Myers takedown is classic Myers.

    Read it. It’s 97% ad hominem, 2% is evidence free moral claims, and then the part he disagrees with is Stephen Pinker’s description of equity feminism, which in the Blank Slate, http://bit.ly/S0idfL (Ch. 18, p 4), is a portion written by Pinker not by Sommers and is misattributed by Myers.

    To which Myers concludes, … and therefore Sommers must be full of shit not realizing his mistake or understanding the fallacy of the excluded middle.

    As I’ve suggested Sommers is perhaps as far as one email, and then you can listen to her in the original Klingon.

  30. 30
    Jacques Cuze

    Smhll,

    “@15

    If laws are all we need to establish equality, then how did “bias in the academy” get there, what mechanism does it use to harm people, and how can bias be removed — with laws?”

    1. “If laws are all we need to establish equality” — I am not sure that’s their position, which is a moral position, that fixing the laws and removing barriers to education is all they can morally do.

    2. “then how did “bias in the academy” get there, what mechanism does it use to harm people, and how can bias be removed” — I am not an academic so I cannot tell you. I believe Ms. Sommers would say a group of ideologues found placement in academia and they hired and rewarded others based not on science, or quality research, but of ideological principles.

    3. “and how can bias be removed — with laws” — presumably not. Perhaps through recognition of the problem and focusing on quality research, quality thinking, quality hiring.

  31. 31
    LeftSidePositive

    @Steersman, #25

    Those quotes of his look rather much like categorical statements to me. Hence giving some suggestion that dogmatism is in play, not “science and reason” ….

    So who is actually making those statements? Is it just Pinker himself ascribing those beliefs to others? PZ already blasted him for strawmanning in the link I previously gave.

    I’m certainly not denying the existence of “woo feminists,” who annoy me to no end, but how can you conclude that the Atheist+ people are going for this “everything is socially constructed” stuff instead of “lots of things are socially constructed (e.g., that whole pink and blue thing!) and these stereotypes are harmful to women…” Especially since I can easily think of major Atheist+ proponents, such as Ophelia Benson and Jason Thiebault calling out exactly that strain of nonsense.

    And where is your evidence that all “differences in behaviour between men and women” are due only to “social constructions”?

    I NEVER FUCKING SAID THAT, YOU FILTHY STRAWMANNING ASSHOLE. In fact, I said the exact OPPOSITE of that: I would consider any proposed difference between men and women if evidence were provided for it. What the fuck is wrong with you that you have to pretend your opponent is making a totally opposite point than what she actually said? Do you have no fucking integrity? Can you not fucking read? Seriously–what the fucking fuck?!

    Where the fuck do you get off assuming that someone making an argument that social construction is a big deal and a real thing must mean that EVERYTHING is socially constructed?! Why must you so blatantly dishonestly put strawmanning words in our comments?

  32. 32
    LeftSidePositive

    It’s 97% ad hominem,

    Given the incredibly poor quality of your argumentation thus far, I assign a very low probability to the premise that you even understand what an “ad hominem” even means, and as you have provided no textual evidence nor argument, it seems even less likely than before.

    2% is evidence free moral claims,

    It’s not enough just to declare something an ad-hom or an evidence free moral claim in such sweeping terms. You actually need to highlight a problematic portion and MAKE AN ARGUMENT, rather than just expecting us to take you at your word YET AGAIN. You’ve seriously got some embarrassing misunderstandings about how this whole “skepticism” thing works, you know…

    is a portion written by Pinker not by Sommers and is misattributed by Myers.

    Of course it’s written by Pinker, you idiot. PZ is saying it’s heavily influenced by Sommers–since she’s the one who coined the term and only she and her acolytes actually use it. That’s not “misattribution,” dumbshit, it’s analyzing the intellectual underpinnings of opinions and the assumptions behind them. Learn to fucking read.

  33. 33
    LeftSidePositive

    I am not sure that’s their position, which is a moral position, that fixing the laws and removing barriers to education is all they can morally do.

    This is simply untrue. The Plato article linked above lists self-styled “equity feminists” asserting that there is no need for feminism because there (supposedly) exists legal equality, and therefore feminism’s “goal of equal political liberty for women has been pretty much reached in the United States.” They are also quoted minimizing the prevalence of date rape and the indifference of law enforcement to rape victims so that they can pretend that nominal legal equality is enough.

    By the way, what is “removing barriers to education” apart from advocating systemic change? Aren’t equity feminists opposed to that sort of collective activism as “being a victim,” instead of everyone using their ineffable indefatigable willpower to overcome their barriers to education as individuals?

    Moreover, “is all they can morally do” is complete and utter codswallop. How is it possibly IMmoral to write about problematic attitudes and raise consciousness? How is it possibly immoral to try to persuade people out of biased and demeaning thinking? How is it possibly immoral to publicly criticize or boycott those who advance harmful stereotypes against women or advocate violence against them? Your “morality” claim is absurd on its face.

  34. 34
    Jacques Cuze

    “…They’ll get through, though associated insults won’t.”

    Say goodnight LeftSidePositive, and remember, someone will always be wrong on the Internet.

  35. 35
    LeftSidePositive

    I believe Ms. Sommers would say a group of ideologues found placement in academia and they hired and rewarded others based not on science, or quality research, but of ideological principles.

    So why is it so easy for her to acknowledge the potential for unofficial prejudices that are not enshrined by law to have a deleterious effect on a group of people only when she is in the group in question, but she flatly denies the possibility of anything but legal discrimination being an issue when someone brings up unofficial prejudices discriminating against women as a group?

    Perhaps through recognition of the problem and focusing on quality research, quality thinking, quality hiring.

    So, are you ever going to provide any argument as to why this is even a problem rather than just the same reason why creationists don’t get hired by biology departments? Are you ever going to provide any evidence of the “quality” in the equity feminist position?

    And if someone argues for more recognition, aren’t they just whining and being a victim by Sommers’ definition?

  36. 36
    LeftSidePositive

    @32: thanks for failing, YET AGAIN, to substantiate your position.

    (And you quoted that text out of context: Stephanie was referring to the posts of previously-banned trolls.)

  37. 37
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Does anyone have a response to Stephanie’s post? As a reminder, she’s asking for data and citations to back the “equity feminist” position.

  38. 38
    Sally Strange

    Moreover, “is all they can morally do” is complete and utter codswallop. How is it possibly IMmoral to write about problematic attitudes and raise consciousness? How is it possibly immoral to try to persuade people out of biased and demeaning thinking? How is it possibly immoral to publicly criticize or boycott those who advance harmful stereotypes against women or advocate violence against them? Your “morality” claim is absurd on its face.

    Assholery: it’s not a lifestyle choice. It’s who they are!

  39. 39
    Sally Strange

    “It’s immoral to exert social disapproval of assholery.”

  40. 40
    Iamcuriousblue

    Normal commenting moderation doesn’t apply on this post. People who are normally banned get another chance. If you’ve got studies that back up your beliefs, post them here.

    This is an interesting statement, and I’d like to take the assumption behind it head-on. Do you really believe that behind every political question, there is a falsifiable, *objective* truth, not just differences of opinion? Because really, much of what I hear from the FTB commentariat presumes this, if not states such directly. And while I believe that, yes, empirical evidence can and *should* be brought into political discussion, I still see as self-evident that fundamental splits on political issues (left/right, communitarian/libertarian, etc) come down to pre-rational worldview differences. George Lakoff has done some excellent work on the topic.

    And this is where I see a fundamental error on your part – it seems like many of you feel the aggressively communitarian left/feminist POV that seems to be the predominant political opinion on these blogs is somehow *objectively* and verifiably correct, and everybody else’s POV is “irrational”. That strikes me as some massive hubris, as if you, unique in human history, have arrived at the one true set of rational political beliefs. I’ll point out that many from the French Revolution through Marxism have *fancied* their beliefs to be objective in the same way, but were deluded, often very dangerously so.

    “They’ll get through, though associated insults won’t.”

    Is that true on all sides of the argument? The last several comments don’t seem to indicate that.

  41. 41
    LeftSidePositive

    @38:

    Just because decisions might be predominantly made pre-rationally does not mean that there can be no rational assessment of the merits of those decisions.

    What exactly does “aggressively communitarian” even mean?!

    Is it necessary that EVERY political stance there be an objective, verifiable opinion? How about if just an awful lot of them have strongly indicative evidence? Is the whole project of looking critically at our political beliefs null if we can’t get definitive evidence for *all* of them?

    Your whining about how we’re characterizing everyone else’s POV as “irrational” is absurd on a post where we are explicitly asking for evidence about your beliefs. Our side presented an extensive wiki with scads of links substantiating our views. Your side has not. Until you do that, you certainly appear irrational, and it is perfectly rational for us to dismiss your views if you haven’t provided evidence or any sort of argument for them.

    I think you’re making a ridiculous strawman if you think that saying “I think this is the best course of action based on the data available and here is why…” is equivalent to thinking one has arrived at the one true set of political beliefs. Of course we’re willing to change our minds–IF WE ARE GIVEN APPROPRIATE EVIDENCE. This thread is specifically the opportunity to give evidence and arguments in favor of your worldview so that we can hear them and consider them. Why, if you think your political beliefs are rational, aren’t you providing any evidence for them? Frankly, I think this is one of those situations where relativism is a refuge of scoundrels.

    By the way, there is a critical difference between hurling slurs at people to demean identities, and calling out harmful behavior to show that intellectual dishonesty and prejudice won’t be tolerated. But thanks for the false equivalence–it’s so refreshing!

  42. 42
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    I have never described myself as an ‘equity feminist’, nor am I banned here (or anywhere else that I know of), but I do hold what are usually thought of as classically libertarian views. I do see these views as being left out of Atheism Plus, by at least some definitions (the ones specifically stating progressive views, which is a loaded statement in my opinion). I am not sure that this matters to me as I will do what I was doing before A+ came along with regards to social justice issues with probably very few changes.

    ——–
    “I’m sure there will plenty to critique on method.” This is what I have time to do right now, since this is not my day job (and it is the middle of the workday here). I will try and get to this part “Equity feminists, give me data” later, though to be honest I am not sure how much data exists on the topic (pertaining to the claims you would like to examine or in general). This is in part at least because libertarian (classic or the more Republican-esque variety in the US) is not a particularly common philosophy, and it has not (so far as I know) been the dominant philosophy in any society large enough to compare to the US. Given what I am guessing will be a few (if any) sources of data I presume could be found to compare to, does the progressive view simply declare victory on the issue (either due to lack of evidence or lack of abundant evidence)?

    “..the only morally significant source of oppression of women is the state” from ‘Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The corresponding truth claim suggested is this:
    “Is there coercive interference outside the state that leads to the oppression of women?”
    This completely ignores the modifier ‘morally significant.’ This may be because it is much harder to treat the original statement as a testable truth claim (without an a priori agreed upon moral standard for both parties). In any event, they are different statements, and the test methodology would need to be correspondingly different.

    Again, quoted from ‘Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Some equity feminists see a nonpolitical role for feminism, helping women to benefit from their freedom by developing beneficial character traits or strategies for success, or navigating among their increasing options.” The corresponding truth claims:
    “Do laws that treat women differently than men grant special privileges instead of or beyond protecting from coercive interference?
    Does developing “beneficial character traits or strategies for success” eliminate any coercive interference so that no state (or local proxy for the state, given the scope of recent discussions) intervention is required?”
    I think that at least the first of these is a perfectly fine question to ask, and is the corresponding truth claim to the position given. The second statement about ‘beneficial character traits, etc.’ suffers from the same problem as the first truth claim. The two ‘sides’ are probably using different criteria (and metrics) of beneficial, success, and moral. Skepticism is certainly a good method for arguing about consequences, and sometimes for arguing about intent leading to consequences (where they are correlated, or totally uncorrelated), but this fits (in my opinion) in the middle ground where ‘both sides’ will end up yelling past one another.

    “Other equity feminists are socially conservative and argue that, while the state should not enforce them, traditional values function as bulwarks against state power and produce independent and self-restraining citizens.” Before I get to the corresponding suggested truth claims, this implies that the previous group of feminists are not socially conservative and that socially conservative people would like to limit state power in favor of self-restraint. I do not know what the source of the first implication is (and have not had the time to read all of the entry, let alone the sources, in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy that was linked to) but I do not think this point has much bearing on what follows other than as an indication of the potential bias of the writer. The same could be sad for the mention of conservatives wanting to limit state power, though this is also true of classical liberal and libertarian philosophy. Now, the corresponding suggested truth claims:
    “Do “traditional values” decrease state power?
    Do they promote “independent and self-restraining citizens?”
    This suffers the (by now) usual problem of vague definitions which are not necessarily agreed upon by equity feminists and gender feminists.

    ——–
    I want to make a longer comment on the topic, but I am still composing it. In the mean time I would like to address a few of the comments made here (rather than the post):
    ‘Tis Himself (#1): Not all libertarians think the government is the only coercive thing in existence (or necessarily even the *most* coercive thing) but they do all (to a greater and lesser extent) find government coercion morally objectionable. Having things you would rather being doing might be coerced behavior, but unless you feel you are being coerced immorally it is not the same comparison.
    Tige Gibson (#2): Libertarianism is not ‘right or left’ in essence. It is anti-authoritarian which is typically a different variable since there are authoritarian left and authoritarian right philosophies (and their opposites). There are ‘right’ elements of libertarianism which are more popular in the US, but their ‘right-wing-ness’ comes from having capitalist views of resource allocation.

  43. 43
    Iamcuriousblue

    #39

    “Communitarian left/feminist” I think is a description of the predominant political opinion around these parts. I’m being diplomatic in using the term “communitarian” rather than “authoritarian”, though the latter term I think could be used with some justification. I’ll note that “communitarian” or “authoritarian” seems clear based on the wholesale rejection of all forms of libertarian ideas, not just free-market/Randian ones, but any kind of libertarian left POV as well.

    “Aggressive” as a modifier means just that – aggressive in opposition to all points of view even slightly different from your particular party line – one only need look at *your* utterly disrespectful tone in your response to my post. Statements that I’m “whining”, “hurling slurs”, etc.

    You seem to have the mistaken idea that rational discourse can be had while heaping abusive rhetoric on others. It most assuredly cannot, and I leave you to your monologue.

  44. 44
    Emburii

    I find at least one part of Christina Hoff Summers’ claim fallacious, right off the bat. The ‘classical first wave’ of feminism wasn’t about equality of opportunity for everyone; it was about well-off, educated white women realizing that the arguments for their husbands being able to vote applied to them just as well. They did NOT support it for poor women, and they actively discouraged the idea of people of color being able to vote as well since such people were felt to be ‘too close to animals’, uneducated or uneducatable, and too base to appreciate or enjoy the right. This was one of the sources of friction between folks of color and women during the Civil Rights Movement, actually, and is one of the reasons why many women of color distrust mainstream feminism (rightly or wrongly) even today; that first wave was heavily racist, and there is still some lingering bias absorbed from mainstream society and not properly exorcised.. That Ms. Summers admires that first wave and says that it informs her work gives me perfectly good reason to exclude her from my vision of a better world, since those first wave claims were based on since disproven ideas.

  45. 45
    maureen.brian

    Iamcuriousblue,

    You were asked for evidence. You have provided no evidence.

    You have impugned the motives of just about everyone who ever went near a non-Randian idea or posted on an FTB blog.

    Why should you not be gently scolded for your failure to grasp what this OP was about? Or even simply for your rudeness?

  46. 46
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Does anyone have a response to Stephanie’s post? As a reminder, she’s asking for data and citations to back the “equity feminist” position.

    Well, so far we’ve got a few quotes from feminists that are allegedly the positions us “gender feminists” ascribe to (and I’m wondering how many of them are actually quote mined. Not that I deny the existence of political lesbianism radfems or woo-mother-nature feminists. But to proclaim this were our position is boring at best), complains about PZ, more strawmen, no actual evidence.

    emburii
    I find your description of first wave feminism not to be very accurate for the entiety of it. If you look at many European feminists, their feminism stemmed from the workers movement and was always a social justice movement as well (look up Clara Zetkin, for example)
    Bread and Roses!

    Stepahnie
    You’re meaaaaaaaaan.
    Always those challenges for data and evidence and stuff.

    iamcuriousblue
    Did you read this part of Stephanie’s post?

    We have an excellent way to address our differences. It’s the same way we settle our other differences–with science and reason. We look at the claims made by both sides. We determine whether each is internally consistent. If they are, we look at the evidence available to us, interrogate the methods used to collect it, and weigh it to determine which claims are true. Sometimes one side wins. Sometimes there is compromise because both have basic flaws. Sometimes everyone goes their own way because the evidence doesn’t exist yet.

    But we have ample evidence, we have provided the data time after time again. So, it’s time for the other side to put up theirs and we can discuss it.

    +++
    So, yeah, if the crux is “morally significant” then it just shows the utter moral bankruptcy of libertarianism again. And you wonder why we just don’t want to have you in A+?

  47. 47
    Emburii

    Giliell, you may be right on some of that. I’m using mostly an American understanding of it, and I may be overstating the attitude towards the working and poor. However, there was still prejudice on skin color; not hatred, but a certain condescension and presumption that of course they were in the right and should not be questioned. (See reasons cited for the ‘womanism’ movement).

    It’s exactly that attitude that seems to color Ms. Summers’ writing, as Sunil D’Monte points out; just setting up opportunity the way she thinks it works will fix everything, just because she says so, and anyone who disagrees with her or feels that her work is without merit is ignorant at best and conspiring at worst. It reads like the same kind of arrogant attitude that engendered distrust between ant-racism and anti-sexism factions, at least in the US.

    (Mind, this is a young layman’s understanding decades after the fact I invite further discussion or debunking on what I’ve gotten wrong, though maybe it should be taken to the Lounge or to Thunderdome so as to derail Ms. Zvan’s thread less.)

  48. 48
    maureen.brian

    Emburii,

    You’d enjoy Jill Liddington’s Rebel Girls and One Hand Tied Behind Us by Liddington and Norris – both full of the campaigning and the thinking of working women, with their links to trades unions and the co-operative movement in England. (Where to find? Abe Books)

    Sorry, Stephanie. I’ll stop derailing.

  49. 49
    Steersman

    LeftsidePositive (#29),

    So who is actually making those statements? Is it just Pinker himself ascribing those beliefs to others?

    He doesn’t give any page numbers for any sources, but in his Notes section for the indicated page (#57) in his book he has this one:

    Deconstructing gender: Lorber, 1994; Deconstructing binaries: Katz, 1995; Deconstructing deconstructionism: Carroll, 1995; Sommers, 1994; Paglia, 1992; Searle, 1983, 1993; Lehman, 1992

    I would say it would be quite likely that the quotes in the section I provided came from the first two indicated sources.

    I’m certainly not denying the existence of “woo feminists,” who annoy me to no end, but how can you conclude that the Atheist+ people are going for this “everything is socially constructed” …

    Apart from the fact that the claim in dispute isn’t that “everything is socially constructed”, only that gender is, where did I say, nay, conclude that “the Atheist+ people are going for this …”? You might want to try reading a little more closely what I actually say … you know, brain in gear THEN mouth in motion ….

    All I said was that:

    The problem comes when some feminists apparently insist on saying it is all nurture.

    That is, that all gender is entirely a social construction, that, apparently, genetics has no role whatsoever to play in determining gender. But note the some, i.e. “Being a portion or an unspecified number or quantity of a whole or group”.

    However, it is that philosophical perspective – being charitable as “dogma” seems the more accurate term – which leads to the suspicion that to the extent to which some feminists in Atheism-Plus insist on that they are rejecting – dogmatically, one might say – the possibility that some gender behaviour is, in fact, genetically determined. Which means they reject intrinsic differences – which probably isn’t good for anybody, males or females. And which means in that case that, regardless of how many people you put through your “re-education camps” you’re probably not going to be able to eradicate all of those “stereotypes that are harmful to women” that you anathematize. A possibility, in whatever attenuated form, that many people look upon with some degree of apprehension.

    I never fucking said that, you filthy strawmanning asshole.

    Tsk, tsk, tsk; such language. Why I never … oh, me oh my … where is my fainting couch? I’ve heard there is no shortage of them over here and I can see why …

    Profanity tends to be the last refuge of those with no arguments left in their quiver. Either that or of bullies. Tends to reflect badly on Atheism-plus to boot …

    But to address the substance of your argument – what there is of it which isn’t a lot – you said:

    In fact, I said the exact OPPOSITE of that: I would consider any proposed difference between men and women if evidence were provided for it.

    While I’ll concede that you didn’t directly claim that “all differences in behaviour between men and women are due only to social constructions”, you did in fact claim or assert that my rejection of it – i.e. that some differences are not due to social constructions – was a “strawman”. And as such that claim is, as you say, “one that requires evidence”. And the only reasonable evidence that would seem to qualify is for you to show that there are no differences that are not “due to social constructions” – or, that all differences are due to that process alone.

    Which might be somewhat of a challenge, considering that there seems to be substantial amounts of empirical evidence against it, notable examples being that “behavioural genetics [indicates] strong genetic influences on personal characteristics such as IQ, alcoholism, gender identity, and other traits” and that even Myers doesn’t “believe the human mind is a blank slate”.

  50. 50
    Emburii

    Ack, to be clear, there was more of the prejudice I mentioned in the American suffrage movement, as I understand it, not that American perspective on England is somehow more valid.

    And Maureen, I will look those up. Thank you for the references! And I will take any further replies to the Thunderdome/Lounge, just wanted to clarify part of my position before the discussion of its validity continues.

  51. 51
    Stephanie Zvan

    All right, time for the arguments to end, since none of them are about data.

    We’ve currently got a couple people saying, “but we’re not empirical”, and no data. Anyone want to give data?

  52. 52
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Emburii
    I think our little derail is still of value to the discourse (but I’ll stop it here): it shows that feminism isn’t monolithic blocks, not even within the different waves themselves and that there always has been disagreement and criticism within feminism and that you cannot hold just any statement any feminist ever made to be true for others. And that we as feminists ourselves are usually the ones who do most of the criticism, like especially the social criticism that a lot of it was really about well-educated white cis women.

  53. 53
    Steersman

    Stephanie,

    My comment above about “notable examples being that “behavioural genetics [indicates] strong genetic influences on personal characteristics such as IQ, alcoholism, gender identity, and other traits” doesn’t count for some reason?

  54. 54
    Verbose Stoic

    Stephanie,

    I think one of the main issues here is that you are asking for philosophical questions to be settled with empirical studies, but empirical studies don’t really settle things when people are arguing over philosophical positions.

    Take the first question:

    Is there coercive interference outside the state that leads to the oppression of women?

    As already noted a couple of times, the original quote said “morally significant”, and reading the rest of the article in detail I’m not sure that that’s right. It sounds like it should be replaced with “politically significant”. You can’t settle this question with any empirical data showing that there are such influences because the equity feminists won’t disagree that there are. If my interpretation is right, they’re simply saying that the law can’t do anything about it, at least not morally. That is a truth claim and a legitimate difference of opinion, but one that has to be settled philosophically, not scientifically.

    Do laws that treat women differently than men grant special privileges instead of or beyond protecting from coercive interference?

    And this one, again, is a philosophical position. Note that in the article you linked some equity feminists do think that the law might need to protect people from what you’d call coercive influence in order to preserve rights. But the issue again is that equity feminists think that everyone should be treated equally under the law. Even if you presented studies showing that the measures did protect from coercive influence, many equity feminists would say that it is still wrong; even though it has positive ends, the means are still immoral and should not be done. Again, that’s a philosophical dispute, and it is a truth claim, but it is not a debate over the empirical facts.

    Does developing “beneficial character traits or strategies for success” eliminate any coercive interference so that no state (or local proxy for the state, given the scope of recent discussions) intervention is required?

    Again, the issue here is not whether or not you can eliminate those coercive influences with those measures alone. They may well agree that, at the very least, it will be much more difficult to do it that way than to try to impose it on the basis of law. Their claim, though, is that state intervention in those matters IS wrong, and so that’s the only option you have left. Again, the difference is over whether or not state intervention is allowable in those cases, not over what will be more effective in solving the problem.

    Based on this, it’s hard for me to see what studies you could have to oppose this philosophical divide. Which doesn’t mean that the differences can’t be addressed and that one side or the other can’t be wrong, but just that your demand here seems to be for evidence that isn’t actually relevant to the disagreement, and so that if they fail to provide that evidence it doesn’t say anything about the superiority or inferiority of any position, but more about the disconnect in what matters to the people disagreeing.

  55. 55
    Steersman

    Stephanie,

    You asked: “Is there one form of feminism that is based more on real-world data? Is there one that leads to more freedom?”

    And the source I quoted indicates that there is some significant evidence that gender feminism – essentially the branch that says, in Pinker’s words, that “the differences between men and women have nothing to do with biology but are socially constructed in their entirety” – is badly flawed and deeply problematic.

    Seems to that having an erroneous view on the nature of those gender differences is anything but being “based on real-world data”.

  56. 56
    Stephanie Zvan

    Steersman, where is your data?

  57. 57
    Steersman

    Stephanie,

    You’re not able to follow the links I gave you?

  58. 58
    Stephanie Zvan

    I already have. What at the end of those links do you think constitutes data?

  59. 59
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    First, I realize I am late to the party (as my workday is a bit different from the typical US workday at the moment) and as such I have missed some of the commentary between my last post and this one (by some, I mean all). I am working on fixing that to see if there needs to be a follow up to this reply.

    Suffice it to say, it is hard to find data specific to libertarian views on these subjects (at least for me). I know that this is very slightly askew of what was asked for, and I have a longer explanation of why at the link behind my nym, but the best ‘evidence’ I can come up with for supporting the inclusion of libertarian thought in something like Atheist+ activism (and planning of activism) stems from historic support for various issues. I have listed a few below, along with some links. I do not think anyone disputes though that the Libertarian party in the US is socially ‘liberal.’ The differences in why libertarians support some things (and do not support others) seems to be the point of contention between libertarians and liberals (as the terms are used in the US colloquially).

    Libertarians have historically been (and still are) pro gay marriage equality , pro women’s rights to make medical decisions regarding reproductive health (though there is a ‘pro-life/anti-choice’ wing of the Libertarian party spawning from the same religious thought that it usually comes from), for the legalization of prostitution (as an example, though searching for news coverage of libertarian politicians frequently brings up the political party’s support for legalizing prostitution since its formation in the early 1970s and the problems this has caused them in the US), and other sex work, including the production and distribution of pornography. Libertarians support these ideas with the express aim of making the prostitutes lives better (and less dangerous) while simultaneously preserving freedom of expression.  As I suspected, it is difficult to find (at least in a reasonable amount of time) studies which show the distinct effect of liberalizing obscenity laws, or the effect libertarians have had on the public debate over GLBT rights or abortion rights.  The reason is probably because the effect is proportional to the size of the source, and libertarians are not a large minority, nor are they geographically homogeneous (or in the case of the US political party, ideologically homogeneous).

    So, now I am back to the question I asked before, do progressive liberals simply declare victory on these issues even though libertarians have supported the same goals but the evidence to pick out how much help was libertarian is hard (or impossible) to find? Presuming that the libertarian effect on the liberalizing of US (and other places) social norms was small, trending towards zero even, is it fair to presume that the society would be less socially liberal if libertarian dominant?

    It is a perfectly fair attack to make that libertarian thoughts (and by extension ‘equity feminists’) do not even attempt to force a level field for everyone to live on, is that the sole criteria by which promotion of social justice is to be judged (within or outside of A+)? If we take social justice to mean egalitarian or progressive (in the political sense) then it is certainly correct to leave libertarians out of the group.

  60. 60
    Steersman

    Stephanie,

    Maybe you’ll have to dig a little. Or you could ask PZ as he states – in that other link I provided – that:

    As a developmental biologist, I’m probably about as far to the plastic, environmentally-influenced side of the argument as you can get, and I don’t believe the human mind is a “blank slate”. I don’t know anyone who does (I’m sure they exist, spinning out endless wordy fables in humanities departments…but they’re not operationally significant at all in the biology departments).

    Presumably he didn’t pull that conclusion out of thin air.

    But I have to call it a night; it’s 5 in the morning here and I haven’t had any sleep yet …

  61. 61
    Emburii

    Giliell, that is a good point. I’m glad my blathering could be of use somehow. :)

  62. 62
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    And the source I quoted indicates that there is some significant evidence that gender feminism – essentially the branch that says, in Pinker’s words, that “the differences between men and women have nothing to do with biology but are socially constructed in their entirety” – is badly flawed and deeply problematic.

    Which is, as PZ has already demonstrated, mostly a strawman. Sure there are some people who make that claim, yet to my knowldge nobody involved with A+ has made it.
    So, to put up “equity vs. gender” is a false dichotomy.
    But again:
    Criticism of the other position (notwithstanding whether it’s valid or not) does not support the own position.
    So far, the biological foundations for gender differences seem much like the famous unicorn: everbody talks about it, nobody’s seen it and if they have it’s a horse with a horn glued on.

    Of course, if the position is that basically the world is as good as it gets now and that any attempt to change anything about it institutionally is worse than doing nothing, then there’s no argument and no common ground to find. If “equity feminists” basically agree on the data then just say so. But it doesn’t seem that people like CHS do agree on the data, so, where do you stand?

  63. 63
    Stephanie Zvan

    So, Steersman, you’re going with not just an argument from authority but from an authority that says equity feminists are misrepresenting other strains of feminism. Got it.

    Anyone else going to take a stab at data?

  64. 64
    hoary puccoon

    This is somewhat off topic, but when I was in graduate school in the 1980′s I read a study, I believe done in Australia (no, I don’t have a link) on gender differences in toddlers.

    The researchers found that the very most aggressive children were boys and the very most timid were girls. HOWEVER, between those two extremes there was a massive crossover. So there were perfectly normal girls who were bouncy and outgoing, and perfectly normal boys who were quiet and rather shy. This pattern of crossover held for a number of observed variables. As a result, the researchers found almost no differences that achieved statistical significance, although they had a sample size that would have given them significance for a clear effect.

    The take-home message is that if you cite data, you need show the within-group variation as well as the differences in averages. This is a mistake I have seen anti-feminists make repeatedly, with, for instance, statements like, “Girls aren’t as good at math,” basing their conclusion on the average of some objective test. The truth is, the variation within genders is so great that knowing the average tells you virtually nothing about whether a particular person is good or bad a math.

    If anyone does get around to citing data, please keep this issue in mind.

  65. 65
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    hoary puccoon

    It’s not only that, it’s also that todlers don’t grow on trees. Parents and society have different expectations for boys and girls and treat them accordingly from the day they’re born.

  66. 66
    Jacques Cuze

    Emburii, I recommend you read Sommers before you ascribe positions to her.

    My reading of her materials describes first wave feminists as women that died long long before the civil rights movement, going all the way to Mary Wollstonecraft.

    And even amongst those feminists, if you read Sommers, you can read of a split between what now might be called equity vs. egalitarian feminists.

    How many people here have had any formal feminist education (and has PZ?)?

    How many people here have really engaged with the ideas and writings of equity feminists?

    How many people here have no real experience with equity feminism other than what they have been told on blogs or told by non-equity feminists?

    I would love to see some empirical data on that…

    Maybe a survey or poll.

    Stephanie, I wish you luck in your search for data, but I wish you had been able to address my point, Iamcuriousblue’s point, and TwoPiDeltaJ’s point (possibly Steerman’s too), that you are demanding apples from an orange tree. Accepting Pinker, one is a moral doctrine, the other an empirical doctrine.

    How do you compare those?

    Is it not skepticism to examine the premises and assumptions behind the questions themselves? Perhaps you should address them, rather than dismiss them.

    Once more, a reddit style IAMA with Sommers might be appropriate. A teach-in. A guest blog. A Google Hangout. A book club.

    She is still alive and lecturing, why not go straight to the source?

    It might be a good way for a skeptical organization to get to the nitty gritty and make sure everyone is well aware of an issue that apparently goes right to the core of Atheism+.

    I’ll leave you to it.

  67. 67
    Jacques Cuze

    I left out Verbose Stoic, and I did leave out Steersman,…

    Stephanie, you’ve now had quite a few people here explain how and why your questions and methodology here is flawed.

  68. 68
    hoary puccoon

    Giliell @64–

    Actually, one of the most interesting conclusions the study reached was that the parents weren’t noticeably sexist in the way they treated their own kids. They had learned what worked with the particular personality of that individual. So the bouncy girls were bounced and the quiet boys were played with more quietly. (That surprised the researchers and it surprised me when I read it. But that’s what they found.)

    This may be one of the reasons stereotypical gender roles are so hard on many of us when we get into school and the wider world. We actually weren’t molded that way from birth.

  69. 69
    Stephanie Zvan

    Jacques, everything you’re telling me about Hoff Sommers makes it utterly inappropriate for me to promote her in any way. I don’t promote preaching. I promote skepticism. I will not promote someone telling me we should abandon skepticism on this topic, which is what all that “not empirical” stuff amounts to. Hoff Sommers wants to promote dogma? She doesn’t get to do it with my help.

    However, there is still a group of people who have claimed, unlike Hoff Sommers, that equity feminism is the skeptical position. None of them have yet shown up to demonstrate that, but they’re still welcome to do so.

  70. 70
    Iamcuriousblue

    You were asked for evidence. You have provided no evidence.

    For the reasons I’ve stated, I think that this is an incredibly naive argument. Naive *if* even in good faith.

    I’m going to turn the tables *on you* and say this: make a rational, evidence-based empirical argument for your entire political position. Oh, and not only do this, but do so in the length of one blog comment.

    Do I have any takers? Somehow, I don’t think I’ll get any takers, because *this cannot be done*.

    Two points that I think are missed in this conversation – in a philosophical sense, I think I can make a rational case for my position. To be fair, I think at least a few of my opponents can (at least the ones that aren’t running on pure piss and vinegar, anyway). That *is different* from demanding data and empirical evidence. Empirical data definitely have their place in such arguments, *at points where empirical, falsifiable questions are being asked*. I don’t see such questions, not even in Stephanie’s original post (questions like “Do ‘traditional values’ decrease state power?” are simply too general to be answerable by a set empirical study – specify “traditional values” and measurable definitions of “state power”), hence, the demand for data strikes me as a rather naive, and possibly not even in good faith.

    “You have impugned the motives of just about everyone who ever went near a non-Randian idea or posted on an FTB blog.”

    Oh, please…..

    Why should you not be gently scolded for your failure to grasp what this OP was about? Or even simply for your rudeness?

    Rudeness? The only rudeness I see is that coming from the *extreme* incivility of LeftSidePositive, and I’ve treated that with the response it merited. And your idea that people need to be “scolded” for disagreeing with you shows some basic problems with your approach.

  71. 71
    Stephanie Zvan

    I’m going to turn the tables *on you* and say this: make a rational, evidence-based empirical argument for your entire political position. Oh, and not only do this, but do so in the length of one blog comment.

    iamcuriousblue, you seem to have forgotten that I linked to rather a lot of evidence in the original post. You’ve still presented exactly none. Have you never done any of this elsewhere? Has no one compiled any of the data for you as has been done at the Pharyngula wiki? Do you have sources you usually turn to for this stuff? Favorite Google Scholar searches? Anything at all?

  72. 72
    Verbose Stoic

    Stephanie,

    I will not promote someone telling me we should abandon skepticism on this topic, which is what all that “not empirical” stuff amounts to.

    “Skeptical” and “empirical” are not synonyms. One can hold, for example, a skeptical position about philosophical positions that may not be able to be settled with empirical data. The first three questions on your list are clearly philosophical ones, ones that cannot be settled with data, but are not in way simple dogma. They have philosophical motivations. Philosophical motivations can be challenged, argued over, proven, and all of the other things that I think you would associate with skepticism.

    In point of contrast, here’s an example of an empirical question from the article you cited:

    For example Rita Simon contests the claim that as many as 154 out of 1,000 women have been raped. On her accounting, the number is closer to 19 per 1,000; and “rape is less common than other violent crimes” (Simon 2002, 235).

    This one can be settled with empirical data and studies, and could likely be called skeptical because it challenges the accepted numbers and argues that they’re wrong or misleading.

    Both of these sorts of questions are valid ones that need to be addressed, but addressed in a manner appropriate for the question. I think one of the main issues here is that you are ignoring those who are saying that for some of your questions the manner you are demanding is NOT appropriate for the questions being asked.

  73. 73
    maureen.brian

    Anyone – looking at you, Iamcuriousblue – who puts quite so many scare quotes around so many abstract nouns gives the impression that he is not confidently informed about his subject.

    Anyone who implies that communitarianism is sort-of kinda the same as authoritarianism* does grave disrespect to the readers of this blog, whose intelligence and expertise is known to be above average. Disrespect = rudeness.

    *Clue: I have heated arguments with the promoters of both but – concentrate! – they are not the same arguments.

  74. 74
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    Stephanie Zvan (in reference to comment #70), what did iamcuriousblue say that needs sources? Did I miss something, I thought iamcuriousblue just argued that not all political views are statements of objectively verifiable truth claims? Is that in contention?

    Since none (I am presuming) of the people you invited to argue with you (since you did not name them I have no way of knowing who they are, but I did not see anyone here take up the mantle) about two constructions of feminism and their potentially flawed natures showed up is this to be cited as a victory for gender feminism over equity feminism? Is iamcuriousblue representing or defending equity feminism as superior to gender feminism somewhere here?

  75. 75
    Stephanie Zvan

    Verbose Stoic, all three of those questions can be settled with data if the words in those sentences have any consistent meaning at all, even as jargon. If they do, and they are not merely the dressings of dogma, they can be operationalized and studied. Has anyone even attempted to do this? Do you even know?

  76. 76
    Steve Schuler

    Actually, Stephanie, an earlier comment I made, which is still in moderation with my last comment, provided links to a couple of Wikipedia articles which provide ‘data’ comparable to the ‘data’ at the Pharyngula Wiki that you linked to in the OP.

  77. 77
    Stephanie Zvan

    Sorry, Steve. Your comment got trapped behind Mabus spam. I missed it. It’s released now.

  78. 78
    Verbose Stoic

    Stephanie,

    I think there’s a disconnect in terms here. I think the questions can be argued and proven over. I don’t see any empirical data from any empirical study that could do it. So I’m curious what you had in mind. For example, your first question is a translation of their position, but it doesn’t capture yet. Yes, your first question CAN be studied … but that answer has no impact on their actual claim. They need not deny that such influence exists to argue that the only influence that can be addressed politically — which was my interpretation, I admit — is that of the state. Showing, then, that there ARE other such influences doesn’t in any way address the actual claim and, one presumes, the actual disagreement.

    To put it another way, they could likely summarize their position as “The state should not legislate personal interactions” and then we can see how that’s unaffected by any of your data.

  79. 79
    Stephanie Zvan

    “The state should not legislate personal interactions” is dogma.

  80. 80
    Jacques Cuze

    According to the Finally Feminism 101 FAQ,
    http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/sexism-definition/

    sexism = prejudice + power

    And so, dis-empowered groups cannot be sexist.

    Stephanie, is this gender feminist position defensible using empirical data?

  81. 81
    Stephanie Zvan

    Jacques, go ask the people who defined it that way. That is not the topic of this particular post. You’re now in moderation so you can’t attempt to derail any further.

  82. 82
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    I know this is an aside, but since it was brought up…

    “The state should not legislate personal interactions” is dogma.

    I guess it is, but its also a direct result of freedom of association, which is given as a negative right. Is the idea that the state exists to regulate personal interactions and thus ensure a ‘level playing field’ less dogmatic, or are you advocating something in the middle, the state should regulate some interactions but not others? You could base these views off of a positive right to something like the pursuit of happiness.

  83. 83
    Verbose Stoic

    Stephanie,

    No, it’s a philosophical position. It’s only dogma if it can’t be supported and is maintained even in the light of disproof. If that’s dogma, then so is a claim like “All people should be treated equally”.

  84. 84
    Jacques Cuze

    I protest your putting me in moderation before a specific warning.

    I do not believe I am derailing, I believe I have been addressing the question at hand. And seeing as how my position has been supported by several others here, and that your desire for data has been met by no one, it may be fruitful for you to loosen your demands from people trying to converse with you.

    And finally, I have been patient and polite throughout.

    I believe your moderation of me without warning is the antithesis of skepticism.

  85. 85
    Stephanie Zvan

    “The state should not legislate personal interactions” already is maintained even in the light of disproof. It isn’t held consistently within libertarianism. Libertarians do not actually advocate legislating no personal interactions, just some. Thus, we’re back to operationalizing the questions in the post.

  86. 86
    Stephanie Zvan

    That’s nice, Jacques.

  87. 87
    Verbose Stoic

    Stephanie,

    I was using that stance in the liberal tradition, not the libertarian position. The same tradition that uses it to argue, for example, that homosexual relations should not be illegal because the state has no business interfering in personal interactions between consenting adults.

    Yes, we do need to “operationalize” in the sense of figuring out what people are actually talking about. But even that won’t necessarily get you down to empirically settleable questions. In fact, I’d argue based on experience that most of the time the main difference ends up being philosophical, and often — particularly in social justice and any sort of moral issue — down to values. In short, down to ought claims, not down to is claims. I argue that these questions are debates over oughts. How are you planning to settle your oughts using ises?

  88. 88
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    “The state should not legislate personal interactions” already is maintained even in the light of disproof. It isn’t held consistently within libertarianism. Libertarians do not actually advocate legislating no personal interactions, just some. Thus, we’re back to operationalizing the questions in the post.

    I am unaware of a disproof of the position that the state should not legislate personal interactions that has been given here. I do not think anyone has claimed libertarians are monolithic in their views, any more so than any other group who share a world view. I do think all libertarians espouse the right to free association (and some libertarians take that to the extension that the government is then not permitted to interfere in any interpersonal interaction, some are in the middle ground I mentioned before). I am not sure what you mean by “legislating no personal interactions.” I have already explained why I am not sure the questions you have given in the blog post are the correct ones, and that the better question is simpler. Is attempting to ensure level playing field rather than just equal treatment the only acceptable criteria for supporting social justice within Atheism+? If the answer is yes (as I suspect many here think it is) then libertarian thought is by definition excluded, and I for one do not think that this is distinctly a problem, it is simply free association (in this case exclusion) which I do not object to. If it is not the case, then the discussion moves back to methods (which is also not a problem). In my opinion (which was unsolicited, I know) the problems come from people who are just contrarians and would oppose any change in the atheist movement, and people who are just being asses. Neither of these groups are particularly under-represented in the atheist movement.

  89. 89
    Stephanie Zvan

    Is attempting to ensure level playing field rather than just equal treatment the only acceptable criteria for supporting social justice within Atheism+?

    Here’s another (implicit) truth claim. What evidence do you have that equity feminism is correct about equal treatment? Again, this is an issue where the Atheism+ group has provided plenty of evidence. That evidence says equal treatment does not happen currently. What evidence do have to say that it does?

  90. 90
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    Here’s another (implicit) truth claim. What evidence do you have that equity feminism is correct about equal treatment? Again, this is an issue where the Atheism+ group has provided plenty of evidence. That evidence says equal treatment does not happen currently. What evidence do have to say that it does?

    Well, my implicit truth statement was actually ‘equality under the law,’ namely that the government should not treat people differently (for instance based on gender). I also have already said (and the encyclopedia entry you cited also says) that equal treatment under the law does not guarantee equal outcomes (equal circumstances of people which is what I understand you to mean by ‘equal treatment does not happen’), and I agree there is plenty of evidence of this.

  91. 91
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    @Steersman, Verbose Stoic, Jacques, etc.
    How do we empirically determine which stance is correct between “The state should not legislate personal interactions” vs “The state should, in some cases, legislate personal interactions.”? We look at the outcomes. The outcome of “The state should not legislate personal interactions” is that socially and economically disadvantaged groups remain so, and continue to suffer harrassment, abuse, and lack of opportunity. The outcome of The state should, in some cases, legislate personal interactions” is that these problems decrease in the face of appropriate legislation. Therefore, assuming that the goal is a happy, healthy, and prosperous population, the second proposition is clearly correct. If you advocate some other goal, then you should clearly articulate it so we can evaluate its merits.

  92. 92
    thegambler

    We are…
    Atheists plus we care about social justice,
    Atheists plus we support women’s rights,
    Atheists plus we protest racism,
    Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
    Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.

    When will you be adding

    Atheists plus we support marijuana legalization,

    Drug prohibition is a serious social justice issue, it promotes racism and erodes civil rights.

    Most drug laws run counter to critical thinking and skepticism.

    When we will start seeing blog posts about the war on drugs, now that the war on women is out in the open.

  93. 93
    Stephanie Zvan

    thegambler, you mean like in this post that’s less than a week old? http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/08/24/actually-lgbt-status-is-a-bit-like-polygamy-or-addiction/

  94. 94
    thegambler

    @Stephanie Zvan

    Funny, I did a search on that page for the words Marijuana, Prohibition or Legalization and I could not find any

    That post seemed to be more about LGBT rights with a token mention of drug users

    not quote the same treatment that other social justice issues get on this site

  95. 95
    Stephanie Zvan

    Ah, I see. We must each of us be very careful to give each issue, whether we have any expertise or not, precisely equal treatment in a manner you approve of using the key words of your choosing in order to have any kind of legitimacy.

    Yeah, get on topic or bugger off.

  96. 96
    thegambler

    Stephanie Zvan

    “Yeah, get on topic or bugger off.”

    So it’s Atheism+, just not +me

    I did some Google searching and here is what I found

    a Google search on this site for the word Feminism turns up about 16,900 results

    Misogyny, About 12,000 results

    LGBT, About 7,170 results

    “Gay marriage”, About 5,110 results

    now lets look at some drug law reform

    Marijuana, About 1,310 results

    Prohibition, About 966 results

    “drug law”, 7 results

    decriminalization, About 821 results

    Maybe this Atheism+ isn’t so much about social justice, but more about womans and gays rights

    Nothing wrong with that, just don’t pretend “Atheists plus we care about social justice,” actually means anything.

  97. 97
    Stephanie Zvan

    So, bugger off it is then. Feel free to come back when you are on topic. You do talk about all topics equally, even in the middle of a big fight about one of them, right?

  98. 98
    Verbose Stoic

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy,

    The problem is that the disagreement with your argument starts long before you actually get to the data:

    1) If taken its logical conclusion, does your argument imply that there should be no group that is socially or economically disadvantaged? Should the government step in to eliminate all of these? If so, then why stop at groups? Shouldn’t we also do that for all individuals?

    2) Even if we agree that a group being socially and economically disadvantaged at least if they are disadvantaged for being part of that group, is it really the place of the government to fix that? Can we use other methods than legislation to do that? Note that most equity feminists would fall into agreeing that it is bad but do advocate for other methods to address it.

    3) If you reply that the legislation method is more effective, then the counter is that simply being the most effective way doesn’t make it the right way. They would still counter that the state has no right to enforce anything other than basic rights, no matter how beneficial it is to society overall. You cannot, they could argue, condemn one person to eternal torture by legislation even if it made everyone else overall incredibly happy and prosperous.

    4) And then we get into defining terms. They would deny that a society where the state interferes beyond enforcing basic rights in personal matters is in any way healthy, because it would be overly restrictive of the freedom of its members. Freedom, they would argue, is the bedrock of any healthy society, and without that you have nothing even if you have a supposedly happy life.

    5) And then we get into specific cases, where, for example, one can argue that enforcing non-discriminatory hiring will help that group, but the reply would be to say that if, say, an owner of a business hates women and doesn’t want to work with them what right the government has to force someone to work with someone they do not want to work with, no matter what that reason is. Yes, you can argue that it risks making the life of that group worse, but they would reply that the government intervention into these cases that restricts the actual right of freedom of association trumps that actual benefit.

    Much of this, then, boils down to an argument that one of the key principles of a society is freedom, and while some freedom must be sacrificed in any society we must not do it simply to socially engineer what is thought of as being the perfect society, if only all the people were forced to act and think the way we want them to.

    I’m not going to say that empirical data is irrelevant to all of these questions. I WILL say that it’s unlikely to settle them.

  99. 99
    moralxterror

    @Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    “How do we empirically determine which stance is correct between “The state should not legislate personal interactions” vs “The state should, in some cases, legislate personal interactions.”? We look at the outcomes.”

    I think you’re misunderstanding the moral argument at hand. Your suggestion would hold some merit under the assumption that those considering which of the two stances (“The state should not legislate personal interactions” vs “The state should, in some cases, legislate personal interactions”) held the same moral views. You are assuming that the only moral concern, or at least the most important moral concern, of all parties is whether “socially and economically disadvantaged groups remain so, and continue to suffer harrassment, abuse, and lack of opportunity.”

    While this certainly IS a concern for the majority of either party, one believes that state coercion regarding personal interactions is at least as morally reprehensible as social and economic inequality. As such, the evidence that would be required in order to settle the two stances (“The state should not legislate personal interactions” vs “The state should, in some cases, legislate personal interactions”) would need to show that state legislation in and of itself ought to be or ought not to be considered morally reprehensible, as well as showing whether or not state legislation of personal interaction reduces social and economic inequality.

  100. 100
    Anthony Deluca

    No one believes there are no other forces on a person besides the state. The difference is that the state has armed thugs and can FORCE you to obey. If I don’t want to get up for work I can quit. I cannot refuse to listen to the government. This is the huge difference. The state has a monopoly on violence and threats of violence.

  101. 101
    Steersman

    Stephanie (#63),

    It would help a great deal if you actually made reference to the post number you were responding to as well as indicating which individual person you were designating with your various pronouns. Not to mention actually addressing the content of said post. At least if you wish to “walk the walk” of “science and reason”. But more specifically, to address the most relevant of your comments, you said:

    So, Steersman, you’re going with not just an argument from authority but from an authority that says equity feminists are misrepresenting other strains of feminism. Got it.

    First: Presumably you meant PZ Myers since that was who I referred to in my previous post (#60). In which case I would think you wouldn’t dismiss my quote of him as “an argument from authority” since he is presumably in your camp and possessing the same degree of “authority” as those in that “Pharyngula Wiki” that you tout – there apparently being some connection ….

    Second: Considering that Myers is presumably a person whose authority you accept, you should address the point or hypothesis that he advances and that I quoted, to wit, that gender is not entirely a social construct. Particularly since he presumably reaches that tentative conclusion or conjecture on the basis of some evidence. And as suggested you might actually want to consider that there is some justification for that argument and maybe even ask him for details – again, walking-the-walk.

    Third: The question that needs to be clarified here is precisely what you mean by “gender feminism”, particularly since the term seems not clearly defined and is apparently used in various and conflicting ways by more than a few here, including yourself. However, considering that Myers himself might be considered an authority in this neck of the woods and that he actually made reference to and discussed a definition from Pinker who, in turn, apparently derived it from CHS, I would think a salient quote of Pinker’s could stand as a starting point for at least one working definition for “gender feminism” – regardless of whether one subscribes to the philosophy and perspective or not, and apart from any secondary attributes or accompanying baggage:

    Gender feminism is an empirical doctrine [asserting that] the differences between men and women have nothing to do with biology but are socially constructed in their entirety.

    Fourth: Considering the quotes I provided earlier [posts #27, #49] and the assertion, on some credible evidence, by Jacques Cuze [#16] that the above indicated definition is “not a strawperson”, it then seems necessary to ask ourselves several questions: is there any justification for that claim; is that the basis for and the underpinning of that “gynocentric and misandric branch of feminism” Sommers refers to; and whether those claims and that branch of feminism might not constitute the dogma at the heart of the problem you said you actually wished to address, i.e. “people thinking they’re being excluded based on dogma”.

  102. 102
    Jason Thibeault

    Hah! Shorter Steersman@100: “Y U NO KOWTOW TO UR HIVEMIND!?”

  103. 103
    Steersman

    Jason Thibeault says (#101):

    Hah! Shorter Steersman@100: “Y U NO KOWTOW TO UR HIVEMIND!?”

    What sort of crap response is that? I said nothing of the sort that could in the least way be characterized as that. Unless maybe you’re working from some sort of stereotype. I offered an analysis of the issues and a set of questions that might be a way off the horns of a dilemma that many seem stuck on.

    What happened to that vaunted “science and reason” and skepticism that Stephanie was touting as the claim to fame in this neck of the woods?

  104. 104
    Stephanie Zvan

    Presumably you meant PZ Myers since that was who I referred to in my previous post (#60). In which case I would think you wouldn’t dismiss my quote of him as “an argument from authority” since he is presumably in your camp and possessing the same degree of “authority” as those in that “Pharyngula Wiki”

    You might want to go look at the wiki. It isn’t what you seem to think it is.

    Considering that Myers is presumably a person whose authority you accept, you should address the point or hypothesis that he advances and that I quoted, to wit, that gender is not entirely a social construct.

    I accept PZ’s authority on certain matters pertaining to this network. I agree with him on a certain number of issues where I have also examined the evidence. He is presenting no evidence here with which I can address his hypothesis or even details of what that hypothesis might be. You haven’t given any either.

    The question that needs to be clarified here is precisely what you mean by “gender feminism”, particularly since the term seems not clearly defined and is apparently used in various and conflicting ways by more than a few here, including yourself.

    No, it doesn’t. “Gender feminism”, whatever it may be, is not the topic of this post. The topic of the post is equity feminism. Even if some construct called “gender feminism” were proven wrong, that would not be evidence that equity feminism is correct. This also makes your fourth point moot.

  105. 105
    Steersman

    Stephanie (#104),

    He is presenting no evidence here with which I can address his hypothesis or even details of what that hypothesis might be. You haven’t given any either.

    Yes, as a matter of fact I have. I’ve quoted his statements and those of Pinker as to the precise scope of that hypothesis. That you might not want to address it does not in the least nullify – unless one has one’s head in the sand – the fact that it exists and seems to be subscribed to or supported by more than a few individuals who describe themselves as feminists.

    No, it doesn’t. “Gender feminism”, whatever it may be, is not the topic of this post.

    It is if it is the source or the basis of the problematic and supposed dogma that you said you wanted to address. Or maybe you want to change your position and say that you really aren’t much interested in that problem?

  106. 106
    Stephanie Zvan

    Steersman, am I supposed to accept everything PZ says, including the fact that nobody actually believes what you say they believe, or not? Make up your mind.

    Also, how I define “gender feminism”, or whether I even bother to try, is not relevant when I am not the person claiming to be excluded because of gender feminism. The question of whether what I’m doing–whatever you call it–is dogma has already been addressed, in the original post, by noting that what people are claiming is dogma has been backed up with empirical evidence.

    Now, do you have evidence to present?

  107. 107
    Steersman

    Stephanie (#106),

    Steersman, am I supposed to accept everything PZ says, including the fact that nobody actually believes what you say they believe, or not? Make up your mind.

    Where did I say that you’re supposed to accept everything that PZ says? He is making the credible argument, I think, that not everything about gender is socially constructed. He makes reference to those who do or at least a definition which would describe them. And I, and others, have likewise pointed to other individuals who reject that hypothesis of his. Different sources, different arguments; some necessity to keep those facts in mind and straight.

    The question of whether what I’m doing–whatever you call it–is dogma has already been addressed, in the original post, by noting that what people are claiming is dogma has been backed up with empirical evidence.

    So, as a point of reference, you’re saying that “what has been backed up with empirical evidence” is the claim, the hypothesis, that “the differences between men and women have nothing to do with biology but are socially constructed in their entirety”?

    Now, do you have evidence to present?

    We need to define the terms of reference first – which seem decidedly vague, a dog’s-breakfast at best, notably even the question of what is gender.

  108. 108
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    @Verbose Stoic

    If taken its logical conclusion, does your argument imply that there should be no group that is socially or economically disadvantaged? Should the government step in to eliminate all of these? If so, then why stop at groups? Shouldn’t we also do that for all individuals?

    Bingo. Note, however, that being required to, e.g. serve black people in your restaurant does not constitute being socially of economically disadvantaged.

    Can we use other methods than legislation to do that? Note that most equity feminists would fall into agreeing that it is bad but do advocate for other methods to address it.

    Evidence indicates that we cannot. While equity feminists offer methods which the claim will address the problems, they in fact fail to do so.

    They would still counter that the state has no right to enforce anything other than basic rights, no matter how beneficial it is to society overall.

    Why should I take that claim seriously? That is equivalent to the claim that homosexuality is evil because the bible condemns it. If a moral principle leads to negative outcomes, then it’s a crap principle and should be jettisoned.

    You cannot, they could argue, condemn one person to eternal torture by legislation even if it made everyone else overall incredibly happy and prosperous.

    I love the smell of strawmen in the morning. It smells like victory.

    And then we get into defining terms. They would deny that a society where the state interferes beyond enforcing basic rights in personal matters is in any way healthy, because it would be overly restrictive of the freedom of its members. Freedom, they would argue, is the bedrock of any healthy society,

    And they’re wrong. Population mortality, morbidity, and longevity are measures of the health of a society, and they are all improved under a regime which legislates on issues of social justice and equality. Economic prosperity and technological progress as well. Here we’re back to asking what outcomes exactly ‘they’ want.

    And then we get into specific cases, where, for example, one can argue that enforcing non-discriminatory hiring will help that group, but the reply would be to say that if, say, an owner of a business hates women and doesn’t want to work with them what right the government has to force someone to work with someone they do not want to work with, no matter what that reason is.

    Because a reduction is his privilege leads to better outcomes for everyone. The health improvements I noted above applyu across the board, not just to those in historically disadvantaged groups. I don’t see why I should be expected to sacrifice a part of my health and everyone else’s in order to coddle his bigotry.
    @moralxterror #99

    one believes that state coercion regarding personal interactions is at least as morally reprehensible as social and economic inequality.

    This belief is an unsupported assertion, backed by nothing but a religious hatred of the idea of government. Why should I take it any more seriously then I do the ten commandments?

  109. 109
    Ace of Sevens

    I don’t see hwy excluding equity feminists is a concern. That’s just a consequence of their goals not being in line with yours. You would be excluded from their organization for the same reason. If their complaint was that you were demonizing them, that might be valid if they could show you were actually doing so and you couldn’t justify it.

  110. 110
    'Tis Himself

    Anthony Deluca #99

    No one believes there are no other forces on a person besides the state. The difference is that the state has armed thugs and can FORCE you to obey. If I don’t want to get up for work I can quit. I cannot refuse to listen to the government. This is the huge difference. The state has a monopoly on violence and threats of violence.

    I read this and my immediate thought was a small child whining: “When I’m all grown up I’m going to have pizza with every meal and never have broccoli and I’ll go to bed whenever I want to and I’ll never wash my hair so I won’t get soap in my eyes, so there NYAAAAHH!”

    Yeah, the mean gummint won’t let you do what you want and makes you pay taxes and spends that tax money supporting people who aren’t you.

    If you don’t like governments, why don’t you move to the libertarian paradise of Somalia? There’s no government there. There are lots of armed thugs and violence and threats of violence, but the government has nothing to do with that. In fact most Somalis wish there was a functional government to keep the warlords off their backs. It appears the only people who complain about governments are the ones living under a reasonably competent, effective government.

  111. 111
    Verbose Stoic

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy,

    Bingo. Note, however, that being required to, e.g. serve black people in your restaurant does not constitute being socially of economically disadvantaged.

    However, having less education does seem to result in people being poorer. Are you going to advocate, with your insistence that these concerns trump individual freedom, that all people must get educated whether they want to or not? Are you going to insist that all jobs must pay exactly equal wages? Are you going to insist that all people be able to afford the same things?

    Now, I’m not saying that you want to do this, so there’s no need to accuse me of creating a strawman. I’m thinking that you obviously wouldn’t trump individual freedoms in this wy. Which means that you accept that in at least some cases we have to accept that some people will be socially and economically disadvantaged, and accept that for some of them that isn’t due to their own fault (bad luck, a personality or IQ that doesn’t qualify them for really good jobs, etc, etc). Now, explicit discrimination might be different, but it puts the kibbosh on your argument that the outcome of socially and economically disadvantaged groups staying such is an outcome, in and of itself, that proves your case. You would then need to move to a philosophical argument, and your empirical case is lost.

    Evidence indicates that we cannot. While equity feminists offer methods which the claim will address the problems, they in fact fail to do so.

    The problem is that this is false. One of the things that was mentioned was consciousness raising, which proved a crucial component in equality movements. The evidence we have, in fact, seems to suggest that having laws to prevent discrimination without changing the minds of people doesn’t really do much to change things; we still end up with the attitudes not changing, but with the law having to step in more and more to regulate more and more to try to make it not impact them. Maybe we need to spend more time on things like consciousness raising and less on legislation.

    Why should I take that claim seriously? That is equivalent to the claim that homosexuality is evil because the bible condemns it. If a moral principle leads to negative outcomes, then it’s a crap principle and should be jettisoned.

    You’d have to define “negative outcomes”, but note that your reply here is NOT EMPIRICAL, but philosophical, and about what a state should provide. Surely we can settle this without having it simply be dogma, and yet there seems little empirically we can do to settle it; the empirical data would, it seems, only be relevant if we accept that, in fact, the state does have the right to enforce more than basic rights. They don’t. And that’s a liberal position, not a libertarian one.

    I love the smell of strawmen in the morning. It smells like victory.

    It’s not a strawman, but a hypothetical denying your base principle. Vanishingly few think that that’s a case where you can trump even just one person’s basic rights in order to benefit everyone else in society, and produce a society that is better off. So, unless you are going to bite the bullet on that, you have already conceded their stance, that the basic rights of people can trump societal benefit. Again, your empirical data is meaningless at this point.

    And they’re wrong. Population mortality, morbidity, and longevity are measures of the health of a society, and they are all improved under a regime which legislates on issues of social justice and equality.

    Prove that principle empirically. Your last sentence basically turns it into “If you have the same moral view as me, we can settle this using the measures that we agree we can settle it on”. Hardly interesting since my whole point was that it’s the underlying philosophical principles and values where the disagreement came in.

    Because a reduction is his privilege leads to better outcomes for everyone.

    Why? Imagine that there was just one such person who ran a company of five people. How would forcing him to comply help most people? Especially since it involves you taking away someone’s freedom to help at most one or two people, and leaving everyone in that office in an uncomfortable situation.

    The fight comes down to when you can take freedoms away from individuals for the common good. That’s not an empirical question, nor an easily settled one.

  112. 112
    LeftSidePositive

    Hey Steerson,

    Have you noticed that no one here has actually claimed that ALL gender differences are socially constructed? You’ve made that up yourself, and you keep attacking that strawman. We have explicitly disavowed it repeatedly. What we’ve said is that LOTS of gender differences are socially constructed, and failing to recognize when something is socially constructed has caused great harm to women’s equality, and that things that used to be freely assumed to be biological differences have been debunked over, and over, and over again, so the appropriate null hypothesis is that a gender difference is a social construct UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE. This is not a dogmatic stance–this is an expectation of data. (It might sound eerily similar to this one: every testable god claim thus far has proved to be false, and I make no claims about the ultimate nature of the universe, so I will act as though no god exists UNTIL SOMEONE SHOWS ME COMPELLING EVIDENCE. Sound familiar?!).

    By the way, you’ve lambasted us for being dogmatic about a claim (that we never even made) regarding ALL (*cough*lyingfuckingstrawmanningdouchebag*cough*) gender differences being socially constructed, but you have not provided any evidence whatsoever to show any difference that is actually biological. Do you want to pony up about that?

    Furthermore, all you and Jacques have showed was that someone who claimed to be a feminist somewhere said some stupid shit. No one has denied that feminists, like all human beings, have the capacity to say stupid shit. You have not provided any evidence that the feminists HERE actually believe any of those things, and we are not accountable for everything everyone who calls herself a feminist has ever said (e.g., do you reflexively agree with everything Sam Harris or Bill Maher says, just because you’re an atheist?). You may not have noticed, but we’re actually really critical of transphobic postmodern radfems around here (I’m using the terms “postmodern” and “radfem” in their colloquial senses, with the understanding that not everyone who identifies as a postmodernist or a radfem agrees with the stupid shit with which these philosophies have been associated), and we repudiate them frequently. If you’re really opposed to the idea that all gender differences must inevitably be entirely socially constructed, why don’t you go off to some corner of the internet where people are actually arguing for that and get in THEIR faces about it?

    Moreover, I cited that PZ Myers article FIRST to illustrate my position (#25), explicitly to tell you that the use of “all” in your gender differences claim is a strawman. Do you understand that? His position on this issue is pretty much indistinguishable from my position on this issue AND IT HAS BEEN SINCE BEFORE I KNEW WHO PZ MYERS WAS. (I agree with Stephanie that something doesn’t become right just because PZ Myers says it, but in this case I consider his statement an eloquent summary of ideas that I also happen to hold.) Then you throw the same fucking source that I showed you in my face to claim that I need to be educated by a position that I have already explicitly agreed with. Do you understand the sheer fucking lunacy of your tactics:

    1) Disgracefully strawman your opponent, using a claim described by someone unsympathetic to their position quoting someone that you don’t even fucking bother to source.

    2) Your opponent corrects your strawman, and cites an article describing why that strawman is wrong, and providing a much more accurate description of the feminist position actually being advocated.

    3) You willfully repeat the strawman again.

    4) We correct you AGAIN.

    5) You pull out the SAME FUCKING ARTICLE we’ve already cited favorably, to show us that our position, as you’ve disgracefully strawmanned it, is untenable and needs to bow in reverence to the clear-headed rationality OF THE POSITION WE ACTUALLY HOLD.

    Seriously–what the fucking fuck is wrong with you?!

  113. 113
    LeftSidePositive

    thegambler,

    If you think drug legalization is an important issue for Atheism+, why don’t you OFFER it as such, instead of starting out with a hissy fit that it hasn’t already been included exactly to your liking? Why not say, “Great! My interest is in drug laws, which I think is a major political issue that harms peoples lives due to a lack of skepticism and because of religious attitudes about free will, self-negation, and a whole lot of other bullshit…” And we’d likely say, “Hey! What a useful contribution to the goals of Atheism+!” Instead you just whined up a storm that your interests weren’t already catered to juuuust right before you even asked.

    By the way, are there seriously ANY skeptics around here who are opposed to legalization? Is there any anti-legalization contingent in the movement at large? I haven’t seen any. I could be wrong, of course, but from what I’ve seen it’s so utterly uncontroversial that barely needs repeating within the movement.

    By the way, just a quick search on this site for “marijuana” has shown that Ed Brayton, Crommunist, PZ Myers, Greta Christina, Natalie Reed, Jen McCreight, Chris Hallquist, Stephen Andrew, and Stephanie Zvan all support drug legalization.

    So, maybe you could ADD your voice and your insights, or recommend bloggers who have great things to say on this issue (and bring it up on a thread about Atheism+’s goals, not to derail a post about feminism!), instead of whining that others don’t blog exactly how you want them to or share your particular focus.

  114. 114
    Jason Thibeault

    You can count me among the people who think the War On Some Drugs is fucked up and derived mostly from religious puritanism; I’ve posted several times on various topics around that point… but seriously, what the hell does this have to do with the topic of the post? This smells like a great big derail to me.

    Everyone has a pet social justice cause they want to fight and counter most. They all count. They all work toward the same ends, to the same humanitarian and egalitarian goals. So what’s the problem that yours isn’t PRESENTLY represented in amongst the people lining up to fight certain other dogmas? Isn’t that your cue to say “I’ll take that job” instead of “YOU should take that job”?

  115. 115
    LeftSidePositive

    And another thing, Oh self-proclaimed “equity feminists”:

    (While others have already emphasized important roles for the continuing need of legislation to protect those who are threatened, abused, and discriminated against, with which I wholeheartedly concur, I want to focus on a different angle…)

    Who the hell said the only way to advocate for social change was through the state? Where did you get the impression that the feminists Christina Hoff Sommers hates are trying to use legal means to enforce their ideas of culture? Just because you argue passionately against something doesn’t mean you are trying to make it illegal–you could just be trying to mock it, to make it socially unacceptable, and to persuade people out of it (hey, doesn’t that sound exactly like what atheists do with religion? So this concept shouldn’t be foreign to you!).

    So, progressive feminists (which I am using to include a wide variety of self-identifications) can try to dismantle patriarchal attitudes by criticizing media representations of women, organizing boycotts of companies that do or say sexist stuff, writing books, setting examples and starting conversations so it’s no longer “expected” for women to be feminine/submissive/economically dependent, moderating comments in their own private (i.e. not controlled by the government!) spaces and encouraging others to do the same, criticizing prominent men when they abuse their privilege, encouraging private organizations to have harassment policies that address the needs of the members, etc., etc. None of these things require state power, and can change the realities of people’s lives (and the myriad social factors that limit or harm them).

    Strangely enough, it doesn’t seem to me like the people who lambast FtB as being “gender feminists” are routinely doing it when FtB people are not advocating any type of legal changes.

    Here is someone losing his shit about “gender feminism” and calling the poster a hypocrite on a post about choosing not to use sexist language, for mentioning Anita Sarkeesian, Elevatorgate, and harassment policies, none of which are things trying to become laws!

    Here is someone losing his shit about “gender feminism” in the context of a discussion about TAM harassment policies.

    Here is someone losing his shit about “gender feminists” organizing their own safe spaces and voluntarily associating.

    Here is someone losing their shit about “gender feminism” in the context of people pointing out that “cunt” is a very loaded word (NOT, I might point out, trying to make the word illegal!).

    Franc Hoggle (to whom I refuse to link, but find his glossary) says “gender feminism” is “save morality” and uses it to refer to those who speak out against demeaning and insulting stereotypes, but makes no claim about legal actions.

    So, why is the complaint here all about corrosive state influence, we’re totally feminists we just don’t support overbearing state power, we believe in other ways of achieving feminist goals, blahblahblah, when we are overwhelmingly called “gender feminists” when we are consciousness-raising and community-building, but NOT trying to use the power of the law in any way?

  116. 116
    EEB

    @Anthony Deluca

    The state has a monopoly on violence and threats of violence.

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and assume from your name that you’re male. Actually, even if your name was gender-neutral, I would assume that comment was from a guy. Probably an able-bodied, white guy, at that.

    Your comment is just silly. It really doesn’t even deserve a response. Of course there are many systems of oppression and violence: racism, sexism, ageism and abelism, classism. How many people stay in jobs where they are abused and taken advantage of because there’s no real safety net in this country? If you have kids to feed or (god forbid) a disabled child or partner that needs care and medication, there is no choice but to stay, especially in an economy like ours, especially if you happen to be in a disadvantaged group (a person of color, a gay or trans* person who can’t “pass”, a fat woman) that has a harder time getting hired. How many women stay in abusive marriages because they don’t have an education or they haven’t worked in 20 years, so getting a job, feeding their kids and providing them with health care (and this is assuming they could even get custody of the kids) is impossible? And I could go on and on…GLBT kids that are brutalized by their parents with state permission, with no ability to leave…disabled people who are utterly dependent on their partner or parents for food, shelter, and medical care, and must put up with whatever they dish out…older people dependent on children or in nursing homes that leave them rotting in their own waste….you get the idea. I’m barely scratching the surface, here.

    There is data for all of that. Statistics, yes, but also personal stories. Hell, I’m living a couple of those (when I was a teen, my parents sent me to ex-gay therapy that was fucking horrific–my current therapist says it’s partially responsible for my panic disorder–and tried to do everything short of extreme physical violence to get the gay out…now I’m 26 and disabled, and totally dependent on them for everything).

    I cannot get over how incredibly ignorant (or maybe just very privleged and wilfully blind) a person would have to be to make a statement like yours. Really, I hope you just typed that without thinking, because it scares me to think that people really believe something like that.

    (Yes, this comment is totally from a USA perspective. I know other countries have better laws and safety nets. My experience, and the stories I’ve heard from other friends, are all from the US, so that’s what I speak to.)

  117. 117
    EEB

    @LeftSidePositive

    Well, I’m against legalization, for a lot of reasons. Some of them are personal (I’ve seen what drugs did to me and members of my family) and some of them are based on data (amount of crime associated with drugs, for one). I think there are a lot of problems with drug laws, from racist mandatory sentencing to the way we classify drugs (deomonizing mild drugs and encouraging the use of more dangerous drugs like alcohol), the way we put people in prison instead of treatment programs…there’s a lot to work on. But I don’t think the solution is legalization, I think it’s fixing the illogical way we talk about and deal with drug use in the US.

    But if Atheism+ started advocating legalization? I expect that while I might disagree with some things, our goals would largely be aligned (like working on the stuff I said before). The overall goal of Atheism+ is something I’m on board with 100%, and I don’t think anyone will every agree with a position or organization in absolutely everything.

    I don’t mean to sound egotisitcal, but I wish more people would do that. Like, just because you disagree with person A or position B doesn’t mean that Atheism+ as a movement is all bad, and if you’re waiting to find something that you agree with all of the time, you better start your own religion and make yourself High Priest, because I think that’s the only way that’ll happen.

  118. 118
    Steersman

    Giliell (#62),

    Which is, as PZ has already demonstrated, mostly a strawman. Sure there are some people who make that claim, yet to my knowledge nobody involved with A+ has made it.

    Doesn’t seem much like a straw man to me given both my references (#27, #49) to several books and fairly well respected individuals in the sociological departments of the US and Europe who subscribe to or promote that philosophy, as well as those provided by Jacque Cuze (#16).

    But you might be right about the involvement of that philosophy within A+. Although on a somewhat related issue, there weren’t many on the Atheism-Plus discussion board who were prepared to delve into the nitty-gritty details on whether or not various feminist ideologies were compatible with Men’s Rights.

    So, to put up “equity vs. gender” is a false dichotomy.

    I would tend to agree with you there as I can quite well see that there might be other dimensions – as the Wikipedia article on feminist ideologies suggests – which might have some relevance. However, I would say there are in fact some quite stark and quite problematic binaries and true dichotomies under that particular umbrella, for instance the assertion that genetics does or does not influence or determine any particular gender difference.

    So far, the biological foundations for gender differences seem much like the famous unicorn …

    I simply find it astounding that anyone can seriously argue that position given the great many physiological differences and their consequences, from genitalia to whether we stand or sit down to pee. Or, as Oscar Wilde said on being asked by a woman what was the primary difference between the sexes: “Of that madam – I cannot conceive …”

    Of course, if the position is that basically the world is as good as it gets now and that any attempt to change anything about it institutionally is worse than doing nothing, then there’s no argument and no common ground to find. If “equity feminists” basically agree on the data then just say so. But it doesn’t seem that people like CHS do agree on the data, so, where do you stand?

    Apart from the fact that I’m not self-identifying as an equity-feminist – particularly having acknowledged the false dichotomy and other possible dimensions – as there appears to be some problematic baggage that follows in its train, I can’t at the moment say precisely where I stand as I don’t know enough yet to do so. Part of the reason why I tend to stay on the fence – it also tends to give a better vantage point to see the weaknesses on each side.

  119. 119
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    EEB (#114):
    In defense of someone who (to me) sounds like a Libertarian (of the US political kind), which to me at least is not a pejorative but does explain some of the background to the statement:
    For instance, I do not think that Anthony Deluca was claiming that the various bigotries in your list do not occur or are not sometimes violent (and almost always socially and economically coercive). I think Anthony Deluca’s point is better made by example. There are (at least in the US) a subset of police officers whose job it is to come and enforce a bank’s contract on your mortgage (they are usually sheriffs deputies), and so in essence you (and anyone else who pays taxes) probably paid to subsidize the mortgage on the house that is about to become vacant and definitely paid to evict the tenants from the house while the bank incurred essentially no risk simply because the state says that banks should have this place in society. The state is allowed to violently coerce you into complying with its laws and thus it has a monopoly on violence, since at the end of the day it is state enforcement that everything else rests on. The bigots know they are protected from you in what they are doing, by a state threat of violence. The rest of societies ills (like anti gay bigotry) are (from what I can tell) getting slowly better, but they have not gone away despite massive resource allocation (public and private) to combat them. They would not magically go away in a libertarian ‘state’ and that is not what is being argued here.

    In answer to your thought about the statement that so bothers you though, that is a fairly standard point of agreement in Libertarian (the political party) circles as well as anarcho-capitolist libertarian circles. There are libertarians who disagree (minarchists, mutualists, etc).

  120. 120
    LeftSidePositive

    Doesn’t seem much like a straw man to me given both my references (#27, #49) to several books and fairly well respected individuals in the sociological departments of the US and Europe who subscribe to or promote that philosophy, as well as those provided by Jacque Cuze (#16).

    THOSE PEOPLE AREN’T HERE, MOTHERFUCKER. If you disagree with their viewpoint, find someone ACTUALLY ADVOCATING THAT VIEW, and tell THEM about it! Don’t bother us with your bullshit any more. We are not making that claim. We are just withholding judgement in the absence of good evidence. I don’t know why this is so fucking hard for you.

    Although on a somewhat related issue, there weren’t many on the Atheism-Plus discussion board who were prepared to delve into the nitty-gritty details on whether or not various feminist ideologies were compatible with Men’s Rights.

    Oh, shove it. I went and looked up that post, and you were doing a metric fuckton of JAQing off, saying “feminist ideologies” like it was some sort of plague (including while saying that “feminist ideologies” should learn from texts that were, in fact, already explained to you to be works of feminist inquiry!), giving blanket denials to the evidence that was being presented even after people went to a lot of trouble to provide you with resources, refusing to move all your derailments to the 101 thread where they belonged, and generally being a total jackass.

    for instance the assertion that genetics does or does not influence or determine any particular gender difference.

    So far, you have utterly failed, MULTIPLE TIMES to find anyone here on the whole of FtB who is definitively claiming that genetics absolutely do not influence a gender difference. We’ve been saying that the other side has failed to provide sufficient evidence to show that genetics DO influence a particular gender difference, and therefore the null hypothesis cannot be rejected.

    from genitalia to whether we stand or sit down to pee.

    OH HOLY FUCKING SHIT, how goddamned stupid are you!? NO ONE is disputing trivially obvious physical differences, and it’s all your side ever fucking trots out when your back is up against the wall! You expect us to be satisfied with this massive non-sequitur that a biological difference means our how we think and act and behave SOCIALLY is genetically determined? What the fuck? Does that even make sense in your head?!

    I can’t at the moment say precisely where I stand as I don’t know enough yet to do so.

    Then stop derailing and start reading!! Why the fuck do you think you’re so entitled to spout your ill-informed bullshit? You actively resisted reading and understanding the resources that were offered to you on the Atheism+ thread. The reason you “don’t know enough” is so that you can give yourself plausible deniability to keep trolling. Fuck off.

    Part of the reason why I tend to stay on the fence – it also tends to give a better vantage point to see the weaknesses on each side.

    Where you construct ridiculous strawman arguments and try to pass them off as “weaknesses,” you lying, filthy, intellectually incurious, pompous sack of shit.

  121. 121
    LeftSidePositive

    TwoPiDeltaIJ, yes of course we know that’s what Anthony Deluca meant. We’ve heard it so much in libertarian arguments we can practically program a bot to do it for us. The point is that his argument is incredibly shallow and dismissive and ignores the realities of life-defining dangers that real people face (and especially dangers from which they often need and deserve state protection).

  122. 122
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    LeftSidePositive, and yet EEB clearly did not seem to understand that, so I explained it. I am not asking you (any of you) to be libertarian, or even to say that libertarian views are allowed in your new club. Atheism+ doesn’t want libertarians, thats fine. If atheism+ is ok with having libertarians, then we are going to continue to argue over methods (and goals). You can replace libertarians with ‘equity feminists for the same argument, though I am not sure they have a 1:1 correspondence. If this discussion is taking place ‘outside’ of atheism+ in the ‘plain’ atheist movement then we are back to disagreeing over methods and goals, which I would hope we remain free to do.

  123. 123
    LeftSidePositive

    TwoPiDeltaIJ, I can assure you EEB already understood it exactly–ze was showing you why asserting such a thing–“ZOMG, these people totally have the theoretical ability to kill me within the constraints of a standard value system!!!” is an ignorant, selfish, callous, superficial, and mentally-masturbatory thing to say in the face of people whose oppression WHICH YOU ARE AGAINST DOING ANYTHING SUBSTANTIVE TO FIX actually results in real dangers and real impacts on their quality of life.

  124. 124
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    LeftSidePositive, I will take your word for it, but it’s not as though I can retract my explanation after the fact, nor am I familiar with EEB enough to know what they know and do not know. As to your caricature of a libertarian position:

    ZOMG, these people totally have the theoretical ability to kill me within the constraints of a standard value system!!!” is an ignorant, selfish, callous, superficial, and mentally-masturbatory thing to say in the face of people whose oppression WHICH YOU ARE AGAINST DOING ANYTHING SUBSTANTIVE TO FIX actually results in real dangers and real impacts on their quality of life.

    The ability to kill or detain you (or anyone else for that matter) is not theoretical. The ‘standard value system’ might be your standard but it is not mine (and I suspect not Anthony Deluca’s) nor is the ‘standard’ applied evenly. So, complaining that the standard is not a standard, that the enforcement does kill/maim/imprison people who have done no harm, and that the enforcement is wildly uneven is ‘ignorant, selfish, callous, superficial, and mentally-masturbatory’ of us to point out. Noted. As to being ‘against’ doing anything ‘substantive’ to fix inequalities I think that is certainly an argument that can be had. I would argue that I am not against fixing inequalities where possible, the modifier substantive is probably what we would disagree on.

  125. 125
    LeftSidePositive

    Delta, no one fucking denies that the government *can* kill you–just how stupid do you think we are? Your pomposity is also a HUGE slap in the face to anti-racism activists who are dealing with police forces that DO actually kill their sons in disproportionate numbers, to sex workers who get harassed/exploited/raped by police, to trans people who are thrown in jail for defending their very lives, and to social justice advocates getting tons of police violence for protesting. Exactly how much terror of state violence is the average libertarian Internet commenter getting? WE KNOW the State can be dangerous. No one is disputing that. We have also noticed it seems to get MORE dangerous with growing income inequality and private money going to elections and police departments and is disproportionately dangerous when certain prejudices are widespread in society.

    However, acting like ZOMG THEY CAN TOTES BE ALLOWED TO KILL ME is a reasonable response to “Sorry, but maybe you shouldn’t discriminate against black people at your lunch counter” or “Title IX should be funded” or “Women deserve legal recourse for pay discrimination” or “maybe you should pay child support for that kid you fathered” is complete and utter douchebag behavior.

    To be clear: it is not callous, masturbatory etc., to mention in a vacuum the existence of state violence. It IS, however, callous & masturbatory to use THEORETICAL state violence to shut down discussion of people who are experiencing ACTUAL violence (state or otherwise). You want to talk about state violence? Great–Ed Brayton does it a lot, go to that blog. But you’re not doing that. You’re bringing up fantasy scenarios in response to people accurately pointing out: “actually, there’s more than the government that’s ruining my life right now, and nominal legal protection is not actually adequately defending my equality…”

    And, frankly, your concept of “where possible” gets hugely tarnished by some libertarians’ eagerness to dramatize any state action as a practically inevitable totalitarian massacre, which makes even basic consumer protections seem impossible…conveniently gutting anything that would actually fix major social problems.

  126. 126
    Steersman

    Hey Left-Behind (#118),

    Kiss my ass you stupid motherfucking prick – since you obviously don’t know your own from a hole in the ground.

    You think maybe all of those many people that Stephanie notes are “complaining most insistently about the formation of Atheist+” are doing so just for the entertainment, that they might be just as certain as you are, and maybe with more justification, that you guys and gals are off your rockers? That, as some here have noted, feminism might have a few PR problems, not all of which are without foundation? No wonder a great many sensible people are looking a little askance at the proposed nuptials between atheism and feminism.

    So far, you have utterly failed, MULTIPLE TIMES to find anyone here on the whole of FtB who is definitively claiming that genetics absolutely do not influence a gender difference.

    I really don’t give a rat’s ass whether or not anyone here has claimed that at all, although I note that Stephanie herself seems rather reluctant to come down on one side or the other on the question. And I’m rather surprised, although less so now, that you’re so obtuse as not to have noticed that fact – blinders, I guess. But the point is that there is some evidence – which I and several others here have pointed to several times – that a not insignificant percentage of those who self-identify as feminists subscribe to that particular view. And that that particular perspective may be contributing to the apprehension that many apparently feel at the prospect of “being excluded [from Atheism-Plus] based on dogma” – which was, if I’m not mistaken – correct me if I’m wrong, one of the issues this thread was supposed to address ….

    Oh holy fucking shit, how goddamned stupid are you!? NO ONE is disputing trivially obvious physical differences …

    And if biological differences influence trivial behaviour patterns then it seems entirely consistent – if it walks like a duck then it is probably a duck – to think that biology influences social behaviour as well. Particularly in light of all sorts of studies on the social behaviour of species such as ants and bees. But I sort of expect that you’ve anathematized sociobiology as part of your new religion as a matter of course – and you would no doubt have been the first to pour water over E.O. Wilson’s head, if not have been the first to burn him at the stake …

    Then stop derailing and start reading!! Why the fuck do you think you’re so entitled to spout your ill-informed bullshit?

    And who the fuck gave you the role of Defender of the Faith? To patrol the bounds of acceptable dogma? Jehovah? Pope PZ?

    Fuck off.

    After you Alphonse …

  127. 127
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    Delta, no one fucking denies that the government *can* kill you–just how stupid do you think we are?

    Side, I did say or imply that you were stupid, I pointed out that your caricature was (stupidly) flawed. If you wish to take that as an insult to your intelligence or a slap in the face, I can not change that.

    Your pomposity is also a HUGE slap in the face to anti-racism activists who are dealing with police forces that DO actually kill their sons in disproportionate numbers, to sex workers who get harassed/exploited/raped by police, to trans people who are thrown in jail for defending their very lives, and to social justice advocates getting tons of police violence for protesting.

    This would be a more devastating blow if I had not (in this thread) already pointed out that libertarians (in the US no less) have been protesting and litigating against police abuse and systemic problems like the drug war, prostitution, and obscenity laws.

    Exactly how much terror of state violence is the average libertarian Internet commenter getting?

    I don’t know (do you?), how much do you think they deserve? Is the amount they are experiencing greater than what they deserve? I can certainly point you to cases of libertarian activists being jailed after trying to oppose police intimidation if you can not use the google machine.

    WE KNOW the State can be dangerous. No one is disputing that. We have also noticed it seems to get MORE dangerous with growing income inequality and private money going to elections and police departments and is disproportionately dangerous when certain prejudices are widespread in society.

    Which of these things do you think is a plank of the libertarian party? Which of these things do you think is the intent of the libertarian philosophy? (the obvious exception is money into politics, and that is a separate fight over free ‘speech’ and politics which is not uniform across all ‘libertarians’).

    However, acting like ZOMG THEY CAN TOTES BE ALLOWED TO KILL ME is a reasonable response to “Sorry, but maybe you shouldn’t discriminate against black people at your lunch counter” or “Title IX should be funded” or “Women deserve legal recourse for pay discrimination” or “maybe you should pay child support for that kid you fathered” is complete and utter douchebag behavior.

    The objection to forcing people to not discriminate and funding Title IX is not really related to the fear of government force. It is related to the idea of living in a society where voluntary participation equates to liberty, and forced participation is a restriction on liberty. Libertarians are not trying to maximize happiness, they are trying to maximize liberty. If it happens that maximal liberty is (to a libertarian) a happy state of being then that is icing on the cake.

    To be clear: it is not callous, masturbatory etc., to mention in a vacuum the existence of state violence. It IS, however, callous & masturbatory to use THEORETICAL state violence to shut down discussion of people who are experiencing ACTUAL violence (state or otherwise).

    You have already conceded that state violence is not theoretical. Also, while I do not know the intent of Anthony Deluca, I have not yet (nor do I intend to) try and shut down discussion of any topic. It is of course not ultimately up to me, this is not my space, but I am perfectly happy to continue to discuss this contention or my original point about equity as it applied to feminism for as long as anyone wants to respond to me (and as long as I have the time to continue).

    You want to talk about state violence? Great–Ed Brayton does it a lot, go to that blog. But you’re not doing that.

    Do you presume that state violence is my only interest? Do you think that I am incapable of reading the various blogs at FTB and deciding which ones I want to respond to and which ones I do not? Or was this simply ‘shut up and go away?’ In the latter case, I will happily do so if Stephanie Zvan tells me to, but otherwise so long as I play by the rules and try and stick to the topic (or reply to people talking to me) I see no reason to leave.

    You’re bringing up fantasy scenarios in response to people accurately pointing out: “actually, there’s more than the government that’s ruining my life right now, and nominal legal protection is not actually adequately defending my equality…”

    Point out my fantasy scenario. Point out where I said that the things other than government ruining someones life were inconsequential.

    And, frankly, your concept of “where possible” gets hugely tarnished by some libertarians’ eagerness to dramatize any state action as a practically inevitable totalitarian massacre, which makes even basic consumer protections seem impossible…conveniently gutting anything that would actually fix major social problems.

    I am not other libertarians. You can argue with me, or you can argue with them.

  128. 128
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    did not* say

  129. 129
    LeftSidePositive

    I really don’t give a rat’s ass whether or not anyone here has claimed that at all,

    Then what the fuck is your point? If no one associated with Atheism+ or FtB has actually made this argument, why are you repeating it ad nauseum? Why do you feel justified in holding us accountable for something random other people have said?

    although I note that Stephanie herself seems rather reluctant to come down on one side or the other on the question.

    She just pointed out that you have provided no data–being reluctant to come down on any side in the absence of data is the mark of a skeptic, in fact! And, no, PZ didn’t provide any data about gender differences either. He said the human mind is not a blank slate (which is unbelievably uncontroversial to anyone with a passing knowledge of neuroscience), but he did not state any testable claim about gender differences, just that one couldn’t declare a priori that they weren’t there. He also only said “biological predispositions”; he didn’t specify about behavioral ones.

    But the point is that there is some evidence – which I and several others here have pointed to several times – that a not insignificant percentage of those who self-identify as feminists subscribe to that particular view.

    For one thing, you have provided no data whatsoever about the “significance” of the “percentage” of feminists who believe this–you’ve just cherry-picked some quotes, and relied on the declarations of anti-feminists sorry, “equity feminists” that these are representative. Moreover, you seem completely unable to grasp the concept of different schools of feminism. Are you next going to tar us with a bunch of natural-childbirth-woo anti-vaxxer pagan-earth-mother bullshit that someone calling herself a feminist practices?!

    And that that particular perspective may be contributing to the apprehension that many apparently feel at the prospect of “being excluded [from Atheism-Plus] based on dogma”

    But if you have no indication WHATSOEVER that anyone advocating for A+ actually holds this dogma, and many people have rejected this dogma explicitly, how the fuck are you justified in coming to this conclusion, unless you’re an ignorant wanker who sees feminists as some evil monolith?

    And if biological differences influence trivial behaviour patterns then it seems entirely consistent – if it walks like a duck then it is probably a duck – to think that biology influences social behaviour as well.

    This is complete hand-waving bullshit. You haven’t said HOW this social behavior is being affected. You haven’t proposed a mechanism. You haven’t specified any social behavior that’s actually affected by this. You haven’t distinguished between physically-constrained behaviors (e.g. “I am the only one with mammary glands so I have to feed this infant”) versus psychological differences (e.g. “women are more nurturing than men”), much less provided a plausible evolutionary mechanism by which there would be such a strong selective pressure to segregate generally-beneficial traits like nurturing to only one gender. You’ve just postulated something incredibly vague and useless, not to mention a total non-sequitur.

    Particularly in light of all sorts of studies on the social behaviour of species such as ants and bees.

    Because the neural architecture underpinning ant sociology is totally relevant to the neural architecture underpinning human sociology. Riiiiight. This is just a loose association, not evidence.

    But I sort of expect that you’ve anathematized sociobiology as part of your new religion as a matter of course

    Well, why don’t you provide some evidence before declaring a priori that I have dogmatically rejected all this evidence that you have failed to provide.

    – and you would no doubt have been the first to pour water over E.O. Wilson’s head, if not have been the first to burn him at the stake …

    You know, your persecution complex is kinda funny…

    And who the fuck gave you the role of Defender of the Faith? To patrol the bounds of acceptable dogma?

    I’m not defending “faith” or “dogma”–I’m defending the basic fucking human decency to respect people’s time by not spouting off on topics of which you transparently know nothing!

  130. 130
    Iamcuriousblue

    #73

    “Anyone who implies that communitarianism is sort-of kinda the same as authoritarianism* does grave disrespect to the readers of this blog,”

    You are not *owed* respect, and certainly not deference. I’ll also note that respect is a two-way street, and you are demanding respect that you and your allies here are unprepared to give in turn. How you could think anybody could give you the slightest bit of respect under the circumstances is beyond me. Are you deliberately trolling?

    whose intelligence and expertise is known to be above average.

    Oh, I wish this were Wikipedia, so I could insert [citation needed] here.

    But what’s a real landmark is that somebody has finally made a testable empirical claim! I trust, Maureen, that you’ll be backing this up with actual data coming up very soon.

  131. 131
    Iamcuriousblue

    “iamcuriousblue, you seem to have forgotten that I linked to rather a lot of evidence in the original post. You’ve still presented exactly none. Have you never done any of this elsewhere? Has no one compiled any of the data for you as has been done at the Pharyngula wiki? Do you have sources you usually turn to for this stuff? Favorite Google Scholar searches? Anything at all?

    Stephanie, underneath your petulant demands for “data”, I fail to see where you’ve asked any question that is answerable by data at all. You have “data” amounting to what now? (“We’ve got a wiki! With LINKS! Of course we’re right!”)That your entire approach to feminism or gender issues is correct? Please!

    One doesn’t need data to demonstrate THE BASIS for your entire argument is based on a massive logical fallacy.

    If you want to discuss world views, be prepared to debate philosophy, which in most cases does not come down to empirical data. If you want to talk data, put forth some *specific* falsifiable questions to debate.

    I wouldn’t think I should need to explain this to a ostensible rationalist.

  132. 132
    LeftSidePositive

    It’s great that libertarians protest against police violence, but that does not excuse them minimizing non-state violence and coercion, and bringing up the specter of it when marginalized groups voice the need for state protection.

    The objection to forcing people to not discriminate and funding Title IX is not really related to the fear of government force.

    Yes, actually it is. I’m sorry that I don’t know how to google comments from past internet arguments very efficiently, but I assure you that I hear canards about the state having guns to force people to do things to come to bear on employment law, publicly-available services, and just good ol’ paying taxes. Feminist comment threads not infrequently get infested with MRAs conjuring the picture of government thugs with guns as an argument against the state requiring child support payments, and saying that threat is equal to the bodily autonomy threat of abortion restrictions.

    Libertarians are not trying to maximize happiness, they are trying to maximize liberty.

    Bullshit. WHOSE liberty? If a black man can not eat at the lunch counter of his choice (a lunch counter that benefits from highway, police, fire, health inspection, contract enforcement, etc., to which the black man’s tax dollars contribute, I might add), what about his liberty? If a woman can’t get equal access to athletic facilities (which her tuition/tax dollars support), what about her liberty? If a woman is cheated out of a quality education because harassment is unbearable or the university is not doing enough to prevent her rape, what about her liberty? If a child can’t focus in class and get his education because he’s hungry, his mother is poor, and his father is not contributing to his care, what about his liberty?

    Also, while I do not know the intent of Anthony Deluca

    We have a saying ’round here: Intent is not magic. What Anthony was doing was derailing the conversation. Furthermore, what exactly is a plausible alternative intent to answering someone talking about the need for state protection to be free of harassment/discrimination/etc with saying “the difference is” and then talking about a “monopoly on violence”? What ELSE could that be doing apart from minimizing the role of non-official coercion (which can be very violent!).

    Do you presume that state violence is my only interest?

    Well, the fact that you’re going multiple rounds about it on a thread which only barely asserted that feminist interests like harassment, rape, employment discrimination, etc., have some legitimate claim to state protection, is not looking good for you. Why do you choose HERE, of all places, to argue about what a big deal state violence is, when it’s only been brought up to say state protection of marginalized people’s concerns is apparently illegitimate?

    Point out my fantasy scenario. Point out where I said that the things other than government ruining someones life were inconsequential.

    Anthony Deluca did–his whole point was to swan in and make a big show about how the state’s “monopoly on violence” was such a big deal, which by definition makes those getting other types of violence inconsequential if they are not enough to break the “monopoly on violence.” You are defending him and acting like he had something legitimate to contribute that we apparently hadn’t heard 1000s of times before.

    You can argue with me, or you can argue with them.

    This is not the topic of this post, so I won’t. But don’t talk down to people pointing out obvious fallacies in the common libertarian fantasies Deluca was promoting, and acting like they totally don’t understand the distinction between killing you legally and killing you illegally. I assure you we do. It’s just that we don’t feel it’s relevant or appropriate here.

  133. 133
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    It’s great that libertarians protest against police violence, but that does not excuse them minimizing non-state violence and coercion, and bringing up the specter of it when marginalized groups voice the need for state protection.

    Are libertarians allowed to try and explain to them why they think they should not want (or do not need) state protection without it being called minimizing their complaints?

    The objection to forcing people to not discriminate and funding Title IX is not really related to the fear of government force.

    Yes, actually it is. I’m sorry that I don’t know how to google comments from past internet arguments very efficiently, but I assure you that I hear canards about the state having guns to force people to do things to come to bear on employment law, publicly-available services, and just good ol’ paying taxes.

    Sure, there are libertarians who object to all of those things, and are you sufficiently versed in the libertarian moral arguments to explain why I am incorrect in telling you that the objections do not stem from a desire for a voluntarist society but rather from fear of state violence its self? If you were correct there would not be libertarians who are statists (and I assure you they exist, and in the US are the majority of libertarians).

    Feminist comment threads not infrequently get infested with MRAs conjuring the picture of government thugs with guns as an argument against the state requiring child support payments, and saying that threat is equal to the bodily autonomy threat of abortion restrictions.

    Unless you are accusing me of being an MRA, and having infested a feminist comment thread with arguments about child support or abortion restrictions I do not see how this is relevant to me.

    Libertarians are not trying to maximize happiness, they are trying to maximize liberty.

    Bullshit. WHOSE liberty? If a black man can not eat at the lunch counter of his choice (a lunch counter that benefits from highway, police, fire, health inspection, contract enforcement, etc., to which the black man’s tax dollars contribute, I might add), what about his liberty? If a woman can’t get equal access to athletic facilities (which her tuition/tax dollars support), what about her liberty? If a woman is cheated out of a quality education because harassment is unbearable or the university is not doing enough to prevent her rape, what about her liberty? If a child can’t focus in class and get his education because he’s hungry, his mother is poor, and his father is not contributing to his care, what about his liberty?

    This is a distinction of positive and negative liberties, which has been tread and retread here and other places.

    We have a saying ’round here: Intent is not magic. What Anthony was doing was derailing the conversation.

    Did I excuse what Anthony said? I did try and put it in some context (which I felt, possibly incorrectly, was lacking), and which to my mind points to a misunderstanding of what Anthony was saying (which you acknowledged), and EEB took it to mean.

    Furthermore, what exactly is a plausible alternative intent to answering someone talking about the need for state protection to be free of harassment/discrimination/etc with saying “the difference is” and then talking about a “monopoly on violence”? What ELSE could that be doing apart from minimizing the role of non-official coercion (which can be very violent!).

    Well, the alternative is one I have suggested in this response, to explain why you think that someone is mistaken to want (or think they need) state protection with all of the baggage that comes with it.

    Do you presume that state violence is my only interest?

    Well, the fact that you’re going multiple rounds about it on a thread which only barely asserted that feminist interests like harassment, rape, employment discrimination, etc., have some legitimate claim to state protection, is not looking good for you. Why do you choose HERE, of all places, to argue about what a big deal state violence is, when it’s only been brought up to say state protection of marginalized people’s concerns is apparently illegitimate?

    I did not choose here to argue about state violence. I chose here to argue about equity of treatment under the law versus equity of outcome promised by the state. The discussion (as they tend to do) has wandered to this. As to why I chose this blog as opposed to Ed Brayton’s, I do not like logging in via my blogger or wordpress accounts to comment, I have not seen things posted there that seemed incorrect or interesting in a way that would be an argument I felt worth having, and I think Stephanie Zvan writes about interesting things. The fact that I sometimes disagree (vehemently and frequently) with her (or you) does not make me unwilling to talk to her (or you). As for ‘multiple rounds,’ today is a slow work day.

    Point out my fantasy scenario. Point out where I said that the things other than government ruining someones life were inconsequential.

    Anthony Deluca did–his whole point was to swan in and make a big show about how the state’s “monopoly on violence” was such a big deal, which by definition makes those getting other types of violence inconsequential if they are not enough to break the “monopoly on violence.” You are defending him and acting like he had something legitimate to contribute that we apparently hadn’t heard 1000s of times before.

    So, for attempting to add context I am guilty of creating a fantasy to minimize someone else’s complaints…. Ok.

    You can argue with me, or you can argue with them.

    This is not the topic of this post, so I won’t. But don’t talk down to people pointing out obvious fallacies in the common libertarian fantasies Deluca was promoting, and acting like they totally don’t understand the distinction between killing you legally and killing you illegally. I assure you we do. It’s just that we don’t feel it’s relevant or appropriate here.

    You are free to argue with me about a sub topic on my blog (which exists solely for that purpose). The link is behind my nym. I have already extended that invitation. I have yet to talk ‘down’ to anyone, so far as I know, and I have returned courtesy with courtesy and disrespect with disrespect. I will continue to do so. Also, as I have said, if I have wandered too far off topic I am certainly willing to entertain that as a valid warning of ‘bad behavior’ here by our host, I will drop the sub-topic.

  134. 134
    Steersman

    LeftSidePositive (#127),

    Then what the fuck is your point? If no one associated with Atheism+ or FtB has actually made this argument, why are you repeating it ad nauseum?

    Gawd, you’re fucking stupid. Or have the reading comprehension and attention span of a child. I’ve said probably a dozen times that Stephanie has specifically asked “Who is correct” on the question of who, “equity feminists” or “gender feminists”, has the greater amount of credible “real-world data”. And all of that to address those “complaining most insistently about the formation of Atheism+”.

    Considering that, IIRC, there are something like 200,000 page hits on the Free-from-Thought-Blogs forum every day and that more than a few of those bloggers are acting like shills for the new religion, sorry, new movement, one would think you all might want to be addressing the reasons for those complaints – as evidenced by Stephanie’s opening gambit if not follow-through – instead of falling back in disarray onto the same tired dogma and bullshit that necessitated the New! Improved! Whiter! Version in the first place.

    Moreover, you seem completely unable to grasp the concept of different schools of feminism. Are you next going to tar us with a bunch of natural-childbirth-woo anti-vaxxer pagan-earth-mother bullshit that someone calling herself a feminist practices?!

    What a fucking idiot. If brains were dynamite … In my very first post I provided a link to a Wikipedia article on feminist ideology which lists 17 different feminist ideologies – does that look much like I’m “unable to grasp the concept of different schools of feminism”?

    In addition, I’m not at all interested in tarring anyone; I’m simply trying to find out what version of feminism you all subscribe to and what the principles and precepts I would be buying into by supporting Atheism-Plus. If that organization ever gets off the ground – which is looking rather doubtful – it might have a membership and dues to support various causes – maybe like the Secular Coalition of America. Do you think people are going to be much interested if it turns out that significant portions will be going to support “natural-childbirth-woo anti-vaxxer pagan-earth-mother bullshit”?

    Because the neural architecture underpinning ant sociology is totally relevant to the neural architecture underpinning human sociology. Riiiiight. This is just a loose association, not evidence …

    Christ. That was only the tip of the iceberg, you fucking moron. You could read this SEP article on Sociobiology for starters which has this:

    On the one hand, by demonstrating that current studies of evolution and human behavior are based on Darwin’s arguments for evolution (properly updated), we gain a strong rationale for thinking that something closer to sociobiology than to disconnectionism is needed to properly understand human sociality.

    And you could follow that up with the Wikipedia one as well. But does all of that look much like they are relying only on “ant sociology”? Or that there isn’t credible research that strongly suggests that human behaviour – including “gender” – is strongly influenced by genetics and is not totally “socially constructed”?

    I’m not defending “faith” or “dogma”–I’m defending the basic fucking human decency to respect people’s time by not spouting off on topics of which you transparently know nothing!

    God, what a fucking dork. Am I grabbing you by the scruff of the neck and making you read my posts – out loud – on pain of corporal or capital punishment? And “nothing” is a categorical statement, the use of which, particularly in light of my extensive quotes and arguments, just further betrays your own ignorance and boorishness.

  135. 135
    Ace of Sevens

    Equity of outcome is a silly strawman, No one ever says that except libertarians. What you are actually disagreeing with is equal opportunity.

  136. 136
    LeftSidePositive

    Are libertarians allowed to try and explain to them why they think they should not want (or do not need) state protection without it being called minimizing their complaints?

    So–a group expresses a need and you tell them what to want and what they really ought to need? That is total douchebag behavior. Is this respecting their liberty or reasoning skills? It sounds a hell of a lot like they’re only free to do or have the things YOU want for them–not really liberty, sorry. If you’re going to tell someone that they are wrong about their own lives, you’d better need some VERY good, objective data to back up your claims, or it just comes off as controlling and self-serving. (For example: if someone says ze enjoys smoking, I have abundant epidemiological and clinical data to show zem that ze probably, in the greater scheme of things, doesn’t want cigarettes or what goes along with them. On the other hand, if someone says ze wants ahi tuna, and I tell zem ze really wants halibut or just not to have dinner, I am a controlling, insensitive asshole. The difference is entirely in how well-supported my position is that I think it should override zir stated needs/wants.)

    That’s what this whole post was supposed to be about–if you think you’re not a bad person to try to dissuade people from their goals in social justice issues, WHY do you feel justified in doing so? WHY should marginalized people believe that the same society that has kept them down will all of a sudden act in their best interests in the absence of structural change? HOW do you think your strategy will lead to these lives being improved?

    Trying to downplay people’s striving for a better life for themselves and their families with wishful thinking “your philosophy” is not caring about social justice–it is withholding access to goods and services from people. If you think that people can have social justice without state protection, you’d better have DAMN good reasons why, because if you’re wrong you’ve just left them vulnerable to a lot of social injustice (that they understand better than you do!)

    Sure, there are libertarians who object to all of those things, and are you sufficiently versed in the libertarian moral arguments to explain why I am incorrect in telling you that the objections do not stem from a desire for a voluntarist society but rather from fear of state violence its self?

    I don’t care what the “purest” objections are. I don’t care what the official academic moral arguments are. I care what is being said to try to roadblock social change. I care about what people say when we advocate for change in laws AND social norms that will eliminate real coercion in our lives. I care that your idea of “voluntarism” means that people who socially and culturally band together can coerce me to doing things that aren’t really “voluntary.” I care that arguments like Deluca’s are being made when marginalized groups feel they have insufficient legal protections.

    Unless you are accusing me of being an MRA, and having infested a feminist comment thread with arguments about child support or abortion restrictions I do not see how this is relevant to me.

    It is relevant to the greater theme of the thread regarding whether libertarian arguments compatible with A+ values. It is relevant to the question of what level of data libertarian supporters actually have for their claims and whether theirs is a skeptical or humanist position. It is relevant to the implications that we are unfairly casting out legitimate libertarian views on social justice, or if we are accurately pointing out that claims of the beneficence of these views are not grounded in reality.

    This is a distinction of positive and negative liberties, which has been tread and retread here and other places.

    And if you don’t have evidence that it matters to people’s health and happiness to only defend negative liberties on the political level, you are engaged in dogmatic thinking. On the other hand, there is abundant evidence for the benefits of protections of positive liberty: I can drive long distances because the state has actively undertaken to make roads safe and widespread. I can try out new restaurants when I’m traveling because the state has actively invested in making sure the food supply is safe. I can work at a wider variety of jobs because I don’t have to limit myself only to those that will pay women fairly voluntarily. I can survive because childhood infectious diseases have been wiped out by mandatory vaccination. What exactly does your “philosophy” have to counter those demonstrable goods?

    So: that’s the point of this post: put up the evidence that, for example, I either 1) wouldn’t be discriminated against as a woman if fair pay laws were not in effect, 2) the encroachment on my boss’s liberty to pay me equally is so grave and so painful that it is not moral of me to expect the thousands of dollars I would get with a fair pay law. Good luck with that.

    Did I excuse what Anthony said? I did try and put it in some context

    Yeah, sorry, you did. Acting like we don’t have the intellectual background for his statement implies that his statement should be perceived as valid in the presence of that intellectual background. Otherwise, would someone honestly say this:

    #1 “God says you’ll burn in hell…”
    #2 “That’s bullshit.”
    #3 “#1′s claim is actually based on centuries of literature and a philosophy that values the role of hell in ensuring our obedience to God.”

    ..without trying to prop up #1 at the expense of #2?

    Well, the alternative is one I have suggested in this response, to explain why you think that someone is mistaken to want (or think they need) state protection with all of the baggage that comes with it.

    But you haven’t provided any reason why we are mistaken–just a fantasy about government thugs that have a “monopoly on violence,” as opposed to the other violence we are getting. If the assessment of the risk of the baggage that comes along is incorrect, it invalidates your reasoning. And, frankly, I don’t see “government thugs with guns” as a reasonable description of the baggage that comes with, say, workplace harassment laws or equal pay legislation.

    I did not choose here to argue about state violence.

    Yes, frankly, you did.

    I chose here to argue about equity of treatment under the law

    Firstly, this is a truth claim–do we currently have equity of treatment under the law? The ERA hasn’t passed, and if it’s not illegal to pay me less for the same job, the law is not ensuring the equity of my treatment.

    versus equity of outcome promised by the state.

    This is a false dichotomy. Addressing systemic unfairness doesn’t necessarily lead the same outcomes for everybody–some are going to be more talented than others–but it does mean that a person from a traditionally marginalized group will have closer-to-equal TREATMENT by all factors in zir life as opposed to when ze couldn’t apply to as many jobs or travel to zir workplace without fear of violence or focus on zir work without getting sexually harassed, and so on and so on.

    So, for attempting to add context

    Why would it be necessary to add context to a comment with no merit?

    You are free to argue with me about a sub topic on my blog (which exists solely for that purpose).

    I appreciate the invitation, sincerely, but I think that will eat up more time than I really ought to be spending, and frankly I found the original topic of this post more interesting.

    I have yet to talk ‘down’ to anyone, so far as I know,

    Acting like EEB didn’t understand the very basic and oft-quoted libertarian ideology about state power was pretty much doing that, I have to say.

  137. 137
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    So–a group expresses a need and you tell them what to want and what they really ought to need? That is total douchebag behavior. Is this respecting their liberty or reasoning skills? It sounds a hell of a lot like they’re only free to do or have the things YOU want for them–not really liberty, sorry. If you’re going to tell someone that they are wrong about their own lives, you’d better need some VERY good, objective data to back up your claims, or it just comes off as controlling and self-serving.

    First, I asked a direct question which you did not answer (directly, though the response is certainly an answer of a kind). Second, I did not say that I would, or that libertarians in general would, try and stop them (whoever I happened to be talking to) from taking whatever action they wanted to take (which is the very definition of adhering to voluntarist principles). Third (as has been pointed out a few times here) objective data of outcomes is not necessarily the answer to the question “is this a moral solution to that problem?” That being the question that I would raise, I would not need to come prepared with access to web of science. Fourth, it is respecting another persons liberty (and their reasoning skills) to try and reason with them to see your point of view. It is not respecting someones liberty or reasoning skills to force them to comply with your views when you could not convince them to do it voluntarily. My fifth point is purely pedantic, a group is hard pressed to express a view via reasoned debate, I personally find that usually I am talking to individuals.

    That’s what this whole post was supposed to be about–if you think you’re not a bad person to try to dissuade people from their goals in social justice issues, WHY do you feel justified in doing so? WHY should marginalized people believe that the same society that has kept them down will all of a sudden act in their best interests in the absence of structural change? HOW do you think your strategy will lead to these lives being improved?

    I would love for you to show me where I have done more than told people I disagree with their methods (or in the case of forcing equality of circumstances their goal). I feel completely justified in disagreeing with you or anyone else when I think you are incorrect, and I will conduct myself civilly as I try and reason with you about it. As to how l think libertarian views lead to making life better, that is a much longer (and much more off topic) conversation and hinges (of course) on what is meant by better.

    Trying to downplay people’s striving for a better life for themselves and their families with wishful thinking “your philosophy” is not caring about social justice–it is withholding access to goods and services from people. If you think that people can have social justice without state protection, you’d better have DAMN good reasons why, because if you’re wrong you’ve just left them vulnerable to a lot of social injustice (that they understand better than you do!)

    I have not downplayed anyones struggle for a better life, I have (and continue to) disagree with some methods (and some goals) of social justice advocates. That you do not agree with what you think my position is does not amount to “not caring” unless you are now claiming either the ability to read my mind or to be the arbiter of who cares about which topics.

    Sure, there are libertarians who object to all of those things, and are you sufficiently versed in the libertarian moral arguments to explain why I am incorrect in telling you that the objections do not stem from a desire for a voluntarist society but rather from fear of state violence its self?

    I don’t care what the “purest” objections are. I don’t care what the official academic moral arguments are. I care what is being said to try to roadblock social change. I care about what people say when we advocate for change in laws AND social norms that will eliminate real coercion in our lives. I care that your idea of “voluntarism” means that people who socially and culturally band together can coerce me to doing things that aren’t really “voluntary.” I care that arguments like Deluca’s are being made when marginalized groups feel they have insufficient legal protections.

    So the answer is no, you are not but you have a strong emotional connection to not caring that you are wrong, so it is OK. Since being wrong about the motive you assume does not seem change your objection to the behavior I am curious why you cling to it.

    It is relevant to the greater theme of the thread regarding whether libertarian arguments compatible with A+ values. It is relevant to the question of what level of data libertarian supporters actually have for their claims and whether theirs is a skeptical or humanist position. It is relevant to the implications that we are unfairly casting out legitimate libertarian views on social justice, or if we are accurately pointing out that claims of the beneficence of these views are not grounded in reality.

    So, in essence you are yelling at a nebulously defined group, and not at me… Also, and I might be wrong here, but I am not sure that libertarian atheists typically consider themselves humanists either (for the same reasons I have said I am not sure libertarians fit within A+). Where did I imply that you are unfairly casting out libertarians or their views on social justice? I have said you are free to define your group as exclusively as you like. I have asked if libertarian views of equality fit, and while I have received no direct answer I am not terribly surprised by the indirect ones.

    And if you don’t have evidence that it matters to people’s health and happiness to only defend negative liberties on the political level, you are engaged in dogmatic thinking. On the other hand, there is abundant evidence for the benefits of protections of positive liberty: I can drive long distances because the state has actively undertaken to make roads safe and widespread. I can try out new restaurants when I’m traveling because the state has actively invested in making sure the food supply is safe. I can work at a wider variety of jobs because I don’t have to limit myself only to those that will pay women fairly voluntarily. I can survive because childhood infectious diseases have been wiped out by mandatory vaccination.  What exactly does your “philosophy” have to counter those demonstrable goods?

    First of all, it is a specious claim that pushing for negative liberties or positive liberties will have a direct (and measured) effect on people’s health or happiness, and not one I have made. The United States for example bases many of your rights on the idea that they are negative liberties. As to evidence that negative liberties are good tools for a society, I would reference you to the fact that almost every modern (western) society includes them as a basis of their citizens rights. I have discussed already why this difference in views is exactly as dogmatic a claim as the progressive view of positive rights.

    So: that’s the point of this post: put up the evidence that, for example, I either 1) wouldn’t be discriminated against as a woman if fair pay laws were not in effect, 2) the encroachment on my boss’s liberty to pay me equally is so grave and so painful that it is not moral of me to expect the thousands of dollars I would get with a fair pay law. Good luck with that.

    Way to invent a goal post and then move it. The point of this post was to defend ‘equity feminism’ as it was defined and provide evidence along the lines of the questions Stephanie Zvan asked (and a lesser goal seems to have been to see if there were merely objections to the method proposed in the post). There are objections to the proposed method in the post, so far as I know no one did try and defend ‘equity feminism’ in the way Stephanie Zvan asked for. As to your new questions: 1) It would of course depend on where you were working. There are places now that do and do not discriminate, that would not change substantially. 2) This is a straw man argument based on a misunderstanding of interpersonal contracts in libertarianism and conflating it with an emotional appeal.

    Did I excuse what Anthony said? I did try and put it in some context

    Yeah, sorry, you did. Acting like we don’t have the intellectual background for his statement implies that his statement should be perceived as valid in the presence of that intellectual background. Otherwise, would someone honestly say this:

    #1 “God says you’ll burn in hell…”
    #2 “That’s bullshit.”
    #3 “#1′s claim is actually based on centuries of literature and a philosophy that values the role of hell in ensuring our obedience to God.”

    ..without trying to prop up #1 at the expense of #2?

    I pointed out that the statement made by Anthony Deluca (while common, in say an anarcho-capitolist forum for example) would not be understood or accepted in the context that it is there when said here. I said this both to point out that the statement was a half-truth on Anthony’s part as well as to give it context for why I think that EEB’s response to it was slightly misdirected. This is in fact then agreeing with both statements #2 and #3. Agreeing with statement #3 says nothing at all about #2.

    But you haven’t provided any reason why we are mistaken–just a fantasy about government thugs that have a “monopoly on violence,” as opposed to the other violence we are getting. If the assessment of the risk of the baggage that comes along is incorrect, it invalidates your reasoning. And, frankly, I don’t see “government thugs with guns” as a reasonable description of the baggage that comes with, say, workplace harassment laws or equal pay legislation.

    Show me where I provided a fantasy of government thugs and set it in competition with violence from bigotry. I’ll wait.

    Yes, frankly, you did.

    You are pretending to read minds again.

    I chose here to argue about equity of treatment under the law

    Firstly, this is a truth claim–do we currently have equity of treatment under the law? The ERA hasn’t passed, and if it’s not illegal to pay me less for the same job, the law is not ensuring the equity of my treatment.

    This certainly would be a truth claim if either of us were suggesting we lived in a libertarian society. I am not, are you? As to your example, this is a poor one to choose. The law does not set the pay rate for your coworkers (unless it is a government job) so the law is treating you equally in that it is not enforcing a pay scale on you or the higher-paid-different-gender-from-you employee. This is an excellent example of equal treatment having unequal outcomes but then, that was not what was guaranteed to you.

    versus equity of outcome promised by the state.

    This is a false dichotomy. Addressing systemic unfairness doesn’t necessarily lead the same outcomes for everybody–some are going to be more talented than others–but it does mean that a person from a traditionally marginalized group will have closer-to-equal TREATMENT by all factors in zir life as opposed to when ze couldn’t apply to as many jobs or travel to zir workplace without fear of violence or focus on zir work without getting sexually harassed, and so on and so on.

    It is not a false dichotomy since it is in fact the two options available given positive or negative definitions of rights. One promises equal treatment by the law and one promises equal opportunity within the state. Neither are perfect, and neither are completely realizable outside of a totalitarian regime which I presume neither of us wants to live in.

    So, for attempting to add context

    Why would it be necessary to add context to a comment with no merit?

    Because I disagree that it had zero merit, I think it was a poor attempt at communication because it did not consider its audience. I for one would like Anthony Deluca at least to learn what does not work when communicating about libertarian ideals if for no other reason than others tend to then paint me with the same brush.

    I appreciate the invitation, sincerely, but I think that will eat up more time than I really ought to be spending, and frankly I found the original topic of this post more interesting.

    Sure, me too. Sadly no one showed up with what Stephanie Zvan wanted, all she got was a couple of libertarians who wondered about the implications of equity feminism (as a libertarian idea) fitting in with A+. This is distinctly less interesting to me, as I was pretty sure of the answer before I asked the question (as I am sure Stephanie Zvan was about her original request for data answering her questions).

    Acting like EEB didn’t understand the very basic and oft-quoted libertarian ideology about state power was pretty much doing that, I have to say.

    I can not a priori know what others know about a subject. The response was one typical (in my view) of someone with very little understanding of libertarian philosophy and as such had little context to process the statement it was in response to. Also, it is not a basic tenet of libertarianism (in the political sense) that the state is distinctly bad, other than it is (in that view) inherently inefficient when it does a job that the free market could do. The idea that a state is nothing but a monopoly on violence is distinctly Anarcho-Capitolist (or Agorist).

  138. 138
    Stephanie Zvan

    iamcuriousblue, if you don’t like my questions, are you incapable of breaking down your own ideology into its underlying truth claims? Have you examined whether those truth claims are backed up with empirical evidence? Did you bring enough to share with the class?

    Asking someone to demonstrate that their ideology is based in fact is really not a stupid demand, even if you don’t like it much.

    Steersman, you’re referencing an entire school of study. That would be like linking to a Wikipedia article on psychology in order to back up a claim that someone can read minds.

  139. 139
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Steersman
    So, where do I even start…

    Doesn’t seem much like a straw man to me given both my references (#27, #49) to several books and fairly well respected individuals in the sociological departments of the US and Europe who subscribe to or promote that philosophy, as well as those provided by Jacque Cuze (#16).

    Again: That’s not “our” (and by that I mean loosely those bloggers and people who’ve come down on the side of A+) position. The existence of a history of feminism or radfems doesn’t mean anything in the current discourse. It’s like some idiot quotung Robbespierre at you when you’re talking about the fact that you think that democracy is better than monarchy. So the question:
    “who is promoting an absolute blank slate hypothesis, or a male = inherently evil hypothesis and wyh are they wrong” is a complete derail. And again, even if you proved that all feminism other than “equity feminism” is wrong it doesn’t mean anything about equitiy feminism unless you support that with positive evidence. Which is what Stephanie asked for.

    So, to put up “equity vs. gender” is a false dichotomy.

    I would tend to agree with you there as I can quite well see that there might be other dimensions – as the Wikipedia article on feminist ideologies suggests – which might have some relevance. However, I would say there are in fact some quite stark and quite problematic binaries and true dichotomies under that particular umbrella, for instance the assertion that genetics does or does not influence or determine any particular gender difference.

    Yes, and the binaries are zero relevant to this discussion. Because we’re not talking about binaries. And even if we were then equity feminism would still need poisitive evidence.

    So far, the biological foundations for gender differences seem much like the famous unicorn …

    I simply find it astounding that anyone can seriously argue that position given the great many physiological differences and their consequences, from genitalia to whether we stand or sit down to pee. Or, as Oscar Wilde said on being asked by a woman what was the primary difference between the sexes: “Of that madam – I cannot conceive …”

    Yes, and this shows that OW somehow understood this better than you. Are you aware that there’s a difference between sex and gender? It’s an honest question, I don’t know whether English is your first language. Dimorphism is a question of sex (mostly. The varieties are a very interesting and fascinating field that tell us a lot about the biological differences). Doing needlework vs. metalwork is one of gender. And honestly, do you think that there’s actually a biological explenation for why some men can’t be bothered to sit down while peeing?
    AS mentioned by others, so far all the biological foundations for gender-differences usually went out of the window. The whole research is often badly done, usually starting with an unproven assumption like “guys are better at maths” and then looking for evidence to support it. Really, read Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine. I’ve written a report on my blog if you’re interested. Apart from being very educational it is very entertaining.

    You think maybe all of those many people that Stephanie notes are “complaining most insistently about the formation of Atheist+” are doing so just for the entertainment, that they might be just as certain as you are, and maybe with more justification, that you guys and gals are off your rockers? That, as some here have noted, feminism might have a few PR problems, not all of which are without foundation? No wonder a great many sensible people are looking a little askance at the proposed nuptials between atheism and feminism.

    Boring, boring, boring. Again, you’re not providing any evidence. “Feminism” has a PR problem mostly because other people spew shit and strawman feminism, making it look like some second wave or radfem feminists were the entierety of feminism. You’re again not even criticising any actual position that’s held here or by those people involved in A+. Apart from this not being the topic, but how about putting up some substantiated criticism about positions we actually hold.

    And that that particular perspective may be contributing to the apprehension that many apparently feel at the prospect of “being excluded [from Atheism-Plus] based on dogma”

    So, how’s that our fault when people are too stupid or lazy to educate themselves about the different schools and waves of feminism.
    It’s like complaining about being exclued from A+ on basis that you’re not a 4th international Trotskieist Marxist4

    And if biological differences influence trivial behaviour patterns then it seems entirely consistent – if it walks like a duck then it is probably a duck – to think that biology influences social behaviour as well.

    Again, read Cordelia Fines. Really, if you value science at all you should know that “seems consistent” “stands to reason” and such are really bad reasons to believe something without actual evidence. BTW, we’re not ants.

    And who the fuck gave you the role of Defender of the Faith? To patrol the bounds of acceptable dogma? Jehovah? Pope PZ?

    Thank you for being the primary example of the problem at hands. People challenge you to get some basic education on the matters you’re talking about and you start using the words “faith” “dogma” and “Pope”.
    If you were a creationist and told you should start reading about evolution first you would probably react the exact same way.

  140. 140
    smhll

    The objection to forcing people to not discriminate and funding Title IX is not really related to the fear of government force. It is related to the idea of living in a society where voluntary participation equates to liberty, and forced participation is a restriction on liberty.

    Since women’s athletics in public schools all the way down to grammar schools was grossly underfunded prior to Title IX, I’m not sure what kind of “freedom” that was for girls. Considering we are talking about government subsidies from taxpayer moneys, what remedy would you suggest. I can’t see how a free market fix would work, but maybe you can.

    Government supported discrimination is not freedom.

    (Tangentially – I bet we don’t even have to go too far back in time to find separate and unequal pay scales for school teachers.)

  141. 141
    Steersman

    Stephanie (#138),

    Steersman, you’re referencing an entire school of study. That would be like linking to a Wikipedia article on psychology in order to back up a claim that someone can read minds.

    It’s not like the “school of study” is astrology or theology where there is not a fact in a carload of the schlock. One would think that a brief perusal of the articles I linked to [#134] would be sufficient to reach the conclusion that there’s probably some credible facts and figures in that “school”. But, since you seem to insist on being “hyper-skeptical” – which is apparently only a “sin” in the context of claims about sexual harassment or about “gender as a social construction”, you might take a look at this Wikipedia article on the topic of Altruism in animals, the starting point of which is this:

    Altruism is a well-documented animal behaviour, which appears most obviously in kin relationships but may also be evident amongst wider social groups, in which an animal sacrifices its own well-being for the benefit of another animal.

    Trusting that that “well-documented”, along with the article’s references on which that phrase is based, will be sufficient to meet your exacting standards of evidence – without obliging me to quote it all chapter and verse along with the complete biographies of the researchers, their opinions on breast-feeding and misogyny, as well as what they had for breakfast this morning – I would think that should be sufficient to justify the claim, among others, that the “school” of sociobiology is not just about “ant neural architecture and sociology”, that it has some relevance to human social behaviour.

    In addition – since you might be of the view that humans are not, in essence, animals but have, in contradistinction, been vouchsafed souls by Jehovah Himself and seek to discredit the foregoing on that basis – you might also want to take a look at the article on altruism in general which has extensive discussions on its prevalence in many human cultures. Further, as a case in point and again genuflecting to your exacting standards of evidence, there are the manifestations of that altruistic behaviour during the recent mass-murder at a movie-theatre in Colorado in which several people, mostly males if I’m not mistaken, died protecting their partners, mostly females if I’m not mistaken.

    All of which should be sufficient to justify the claim, to give some credence to the hypothesis, that altruism – a feature of social behaviour from ants to humans – has a strong genetic component: the slate is most definitely not blank. And if there is one very significant behaviour pattern, or major component of it, that is written thereon then it is entirely justified to postulate that there might well be many others. In which case, to even suggest that “gender is a social construction” – in any particular or general case – is anything more than one of several competing and equally credible hypotheses, much less the default or null hypothesis, is risible at best and, at worst, justification for concluding that the claimant is peddling dogma and is most definitely not engaging in a process of “science and reason”.

  142. 142
    Iamcuriousblue

    “iamcuriousblue, if you don’t like my questions, are you incapable of breaking down your own ideology into its underlying truth claims? Have you examined whether those truth claims are backed up with empirical evidence? Did you bring enough to share with the class?

    Asking someone to demonstrate that their ideology is based in fact is really not a stupid demand, even if you don’t like it much.”

    If it is such a reasonable demand, then it is entirely reasonable that I ask you to demonstrate this. In case you’ve noticed, you have not remotely begun to do this. Pointing to me to a “Pharyngula Wiki” (which, for the most part, links more to “Feminism 101″ type blogs than actual studies) hardly lays out how you’ve supposedly started with empirical data and supposedly built an iron-clad ethical system out of it.

    If you’re going to not only claim that such a thing is possible, but demand that other people actually produce this level of evidence, it is hardly too much that I ask you to produce this yourself.

    At this point, I’d like to point you to Daniel Fincke’s lengthy post on what’s actually involved with constructing a morality based around empirical evidence:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers/2012/08/30/what-are-the-criteria-for-a-true-morality-or-a-true-moral-judgment/

    He doesn’t even get to the specifics of a moral system, but lays out some excellent groundwork on whether it’s even possible derive morality from data. (Small clue: it’s a far bigger project than could be accomplished by simply building a “Pharyngula wiki”) If you don’t want to engage in that level of intellectual heavy lifting, fine, but don’t start pointing fingers and pretending you’ve made some great case for your beliefs until you are.

  143. 143
    Iamcuriousblue

    #139

    “And if biological differences influence trivial behaviour patterns then it seems entirely consistent – if it walks like a duck then it is probably a duck – to think that biology influences social behaviour as well.”

    “Again, read Cordelia Fines. Really, if you value science at all you should know that “seems consistent” “stands to reason” and such are really bad reasons to believe something without actual evidence. BTW, we’re not ants.”

    One does not have to believe that humans are ants to accept the idea that human behavior and society is influenced, to some degree, by underlying biology. To say that human social behavior has completely escaped its biological roots and now “culture is king”, imprinting whatever norms we as a society choose onto blank slates is, in fact, a very radical hypothesis, and like all extraordinary claims, should have some extraordinary evidence to back it up.

    What Cordelia Fine has done is to debunk many of the simplistic, outlandish, and bluntly deterministic claims about the influence of biological sex on human thought and behavior. As Stephen Jay Gould before her in “Mismeasure of Man concerning ideas about race, class, and also sex. Fine has also called into question many of the methodological problems with gender difference studies.

    And Fine’s work is in the best tradition of skepticism (and, no doubt, something that would be attacked as “hyperskpeticism” if it took issue with the kinds of research biases evident in some of the studies linked to on the Pharyngula wiki). However, what I don’t think Fine has accomplished is any definitive falsification of the hypothesis that there is some influence of biological sex on behavior, which requires better methodology and data than has been applied to that question so far. And she has definitely not confirmed the more radical null hypothesis that biology does not have meaningful influence on behavior.

  144. 144
    doubtthat

    Equity feminists make claims about the world. Rather than building an opposing morality, the question is simply whether any equity feminists have evidence to support their claims about the world.

    When I was in law school, the popular libertarian position on the Civil Rights Movement was that competitive federalism would have eventually ended segregation. One question to ask is whether the price associated with “eventually” was worth paying, another question was whether segregation would have just naturally ended as black people voluntarily moved to more favorable states.

    In other words, one roughly moral question for which empirical data gives little guidance (if you don’t care about the suffering of a minority, providing evidence of their suffering will do little to sway your position), and one claim clearly within the scope of empiricism (now it is a historical question, still subject to empirical verification, but contemporary studies would have gone a long way to answer that question before it was settled).

    What amuses me about this thread, placed in context with the recent whining about FTB and now A+, is that all the sanctimonious folks whining about how FTB and A+ have abandoned scientific skepticism are doing everything they can to keep this thread about the first sort of issue. You would think that a skeptical person would be more concerned with first answering whether it was realistic or even possible to solve real-world segregation with competitive federalism before they dealt with the moral claims.

    Notice that a strong answer to the empirical question (yes or no, competitive federalism ends segregation) does not necessitate an answer to the moral question. One could acknowledge that the plan wouldn’t work and still advocate against federal intervention. One could think that CF would ultimately work and still advocate for federal intervention.

    But that’s not what’s going on here. We have a shitton of people trying to argue that because there’s no empirical way to answer the moral question, there’s also no way to answer the factual assertions made by an ideological stance.

    I apologize for the pedantic nature of this last part, but I think it’s probably necessary: Equality feminists make a factual claim–state intervention is the sole or most important form of oppression based on sex. Remove the unequal laws, and there’s equality–and a moral claim–the state should stay out of our lives. Yes, it’s possible to both think that Equality feminism will never lead to “e”quality, and still advocate for it. That doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from answering the factual challenge.

  145. 145
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    smhll (#140):

    Since women’s athletics in public schools all the way down to grammar schools was grossly underfunded prior to Title IX, I’m not sure what kind of “freedom” that was for girls. Considering we are talking about government subsidies from taxpayer moneys, what remedy would you suggest. I can’t see how a free market fix would work, but maybe you can.

    It honestly depends on what brand of ‘libertarian’ you ask as to what solution they will recommend. If you ask a libertarian (of the US political party variety) they will likely give you something along the lines of ‘Title IX’ does not fix the problem it set out to solve and then point you to something like cheerleader injuries and why it is not considered a sport. While suggesting litigation as the solution when you think you have a case for government discrimination. If you ask one of the more anarchist leaning libertarians they will disagree with the idea of public schools and suggest something more like charter schools, some of which will probably have the programs you want.

    Government supported discrimination is not freedom.

    If by discrimination you mean unequal treatment under the law then I agree, which I have already said.

  146. 146
    LeftSidePositive

    @Iamcuriousblue:

    To say that human social behavior has completely escaped its biological roots and now “culture is king”, imprinting whatever norms we as a society choose onto blank slates is, in fact, a very radical hypothesis, and like all extraordinary claims, should have some extraordinary evidence to back it up.

    Well, then it’s a good thing that NO ONE HERE HAS SAID THAT, and we have already explained that so many times on this thread that you cannot reasonably claim good-faith misinterpretation, and must instead be a filthy, lying sack of shit.

    And she has definitely not confirmed the more radical null hypothesis that biology does not have meaningful influence on behavior.

    O holy fucking Flying Spaghetti Monster!!! How unbelievably ignorant are you?!?! Do you seriously not know what a null hypothesis is? How the fuck are you on a skeptical forum??? This lack of basic knowledge is really shocking.

    A null hypothesis cannot possibly be radical. A null hypothesis, by definition, isn’t proposing anything or making any claims about the universe. It’s just what you treat as true until different evidence comes along to change your mind. Here’s how it works: the null hypothesis for EVERY DRUG TRIAL EVER is that the drug works no better than a placebo. That is how studies are designed, and that is what a drug must demonstrate is highly likely false, to be approved. Now, does the FDA have a “radical null hypothesis” that no drug ever works to treat anything? No, of course not! It’s just that any given drug must prove that it actually does work before we accept that to be true.

    Similarly, we are making NO CLAIM WHATSOEVER about being sure that all gender differences are entirely socially constructed–what we are saying is that until you prove a particular gender difference is biological beyond a reasonable doubt, we will provisionally assume that it is socially constructed.

    This is high-school level scientific analysis, dumbshit. I can’t BELIEVE you could be so ignorant. Please go find your freshman-year science teacher and tell them ze is a grotesque failure as a teacher, or admit that your brain is a grotesque failure at basic comprehension.

  147. 147
    LeftSidePositive

    Pointing to me to a “Pharyngula Wiki” (which, for the most part, links more to “Feminism 101″ type blogs than actual studies)

    Here you go, a quick selection of peer-reviewed studies (or articles about them for those behind a paywall):

    Men are rewarded for negotiating raises, and while women ask for raises at the same rate, they are not rewarded:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-leadership/for-women-in-business-the-squeaky-wheel-doesnt-get-the-grease/2012/01/09/gIQAGRuqlP_story.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost

    Women are judged to be more competent at a task when the judge is blinded to subject gender:
    http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1997-04-28/news/9704250139_1_vienna-philharmonic-orchestra-auditions-harpist

    Organizational structures perpetuate biases against women that leads to gaps in their promotion and compensation:
    http://www.catalyst.org/publication/292/cascading-gender-biases-compounding-effects-an-assessment-of-talent-management-systems

    Men were selected over equally-qualified women in hiring simulations because they matched the ideal applicant, who is assumed to be male:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1559-1816.1992.tb00985.x/abstract

    Men’s subjective assessments of women’s competence is affected by the women’s attractiveness, which does not hold true for men or women assessing men:
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/m43524751tj81606/

    Women and minorities are judged less favorably than white men of the same professional performance:
    http://advance.ei.columbia.edu/sitefiles/file/Readings/Greenhaus_1993.pdf

    Overweight women are discriminated against in hiring decisions, even more so than overweight men:
    http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/apl/79/6/909/

    Women are collectively judged as being poor performers at math, leading to stereotype threat and deflating performance:
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103198913737

    And no, that’s not weak ladybrains–white men can be induced to perform badly under stereotype threat too:
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103198913713
    (they just don’t usually have to deal with harmful stereotypes about themselves)

    Girls report lower self-esteem than boys in early adolescence and more negative body image and media influence:
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/m7225317781257j7/

    58% of women experience sexually-harassing behaviors in the workplace:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2003.tb00752.x/abstract

    Girls in high school are more likely than boys to face severe harassment from classmates and adults at school, with a negative effect on psychological outcome, school attendance and safety:
    http://pwq.sagepub.com/content/32/2/113.abstract

    how you’ve supposedly started with empirical data and supposedly built an iron-clad ethical system out of it.

    Stephanie never claimed to have done this. Having a worldview that is well-supported by empirical data does not mean that one claims it to be “iron-clad.” It just means that it is the best provisional conclusion to come to based on the evidence available. Stephanie even notes in the OP that some questions might not get resolved for lack of available evidence on either side. We are not saying you have to conclusively prove your worldview, just provide ANY reasonable evidence in favor of it so we can evaluate its real-world merits. We don’t pretend to have conclusively proved our worldview, just that we have a lot of data that supports our assessments and our values. Meanwhile, you have provided NONE. Any reasonable person–certainly a skeptic!–would preferentially hold a worldview that has some evidence for it rather than none (that’s basically a prerequisite of being a reasonable person!), while looking for other evidence to refine said worldview.

  148. 148
    LeftSidePositive

    Pointing to me to a “Pharyngula Wiki” (which, for the most part, links more to “Feminism 101″ type blogs than actual studies)

    Here you go, a quick selection of peer-reviewed studies (or articles about them for those behind a paywall):

    part 1:

    Men are rewarded for negotiating raises, and while women ask for raises at the same rate, they are not rewarded:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-leadership/for-women-in-business-the-squeaky-wheel-doesnt-get-the-grease/2012/01/09/gIQAGRuqlP_story.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost

    Women are judged to be more competent at a task when the judge is blinded to subject gender:
    http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1997-04-28/news/9704250139_1_vienna-philharmonic-orchestra-auditions-harpist

    Organizational structures perpetuate biases against women that leads to gaps in their promotion and compensation:
    http://www.catalyst.org/publication/292/cascading-gender-biases-compounding-effects-an-assessment-of-talent-management-systems

  149. 149
    LeftSidePositive

    Steersman:

    I’ve said probably a dozen times that Stephanie has specifically asked “Who is correct” on the question of who, “equity feminists” or “gender feminists”

    Well, you’re wrong, because Stephanie has not said that, especially because “gender feminists” DO NOT EXIST. They are a cheap, transparent strawman invented by Christina Hoff Sommers to drag anyone who differs from her extreme libertarian views down to the level of utterly fringe nutsos, some of whom exist only in her head.

    Are you too fucking stupid to understand scare quotes?! Stephanie used “gender feminists” to mock people who insist on calling her that.

    She even explained this explicitly: “Not my definition of “gender feminism”, actually. I don’t claim the label. The people who are calling themselves equity feminists are placing it on me”

    So, the ACTUAL argument here is “who is correct”: people of a libertarian bent claiming not to be sexists but merely “equity feminists” and the progressive, skeptical, liberal feminists who are proponents of Atheism+ who say that in fact “equity feminists” cannot hold their views and be committed to both social justice and to critical thinking, because the “equity feminists’” claims of what will achieve social justice are irreconcilable with reality.

    In my very first post I provided a link to a Wikipedia article on feminist ideology which lists 17 different feminist ideologies – does that look much like I’m “unable to grasp the concept of different schools of feminism”?

    Yes, frankly, it does. Linking to a list of things is not the same as understanding the difference between those things. If you keep insisting that we believe something just because you saw some other unaffiliated feminist say it somewhere, clearly you don’t understand the concept, or you’d never make such a fucking stupid argument.

    I’m simply trying to find out what version of feminism you all subscribe to

    No you’re not, you filthy fucking liar, you are TELLING us what version of feminism you think we subscribe to, and you have willfully refused over and over again to listen to our clarifications.

    and what the principles and precepts I would be buying into by supporting Atheism-Plus.

    So totally the best way to do that is to look for the most odious principles and precepts that have not been shown to have any currency among people actually supporting Atheism-plus.

    But does all of that look much like they are relying only on “ant sociology”?

    No, YOU, not they, were relying on “ant sociology” to make a claim that physical differences must necessitate sociobehavioral differences, and the significant neurological differences make this decidedly non-compelling evidence. Your claim, your burden of proof.

    Or that there isn’t credible research that strongly suggests that human behaviour – including “gender” – is strongly influenced by genetics and is not totally “socially constructed”?

    But “strongly suggests” is not “establishes.” Suggesting something is not the same as providing quality evidence that it is actually true. Furthermore, NO ONE HERE HAS CLAIMED that behavior is “totally ‘socially constructed’” so stop fighting that strawman. Your challenge was to provide A SPECIFIC BEHAVIORAL GENDER DIFFERENCE and to provide CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE that it is biologically based. Saying “well, there could be one!” does not cut it.

  150. 150
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    So, the ACTUAL argument here is “who is correct”: people of a libertarian bent claiming not to be sexists but merely “equity feminists” and the progressive, skeptical, liberal feminists who are proponents of Atheism+ who say that in fact “equity feminists” cannot hold their views and be committed to both social justice and to critical thinking, because the “equity feminists’” claims of what will achieve social justice are irreconcilable with reality.

    libertarian saying ‘I do not want the government to do X’ does not mean that the libertarian does not want X to happen. If progressive feminists could convince people to implement their solutions without forcing people to, libertarians would support it.

  151. 151
    Ace of Sevens

    Well, you’re wrong, because Stephanie has not said that, especially because “gender feminists” DO NOT EXIST. They are a cheap, transparent strawman invented by Christina Hoff Sommers to drag anyone who differs from her extreme libertarian views down to the level of utterly fringe nutsos, some of whom exist only in her head.

    There are literally dozen of people who meet Sommer’s definition of a gender feminist. There may even be more than one hundred!

  152. 152
    LeftSidePositive

    @147:

    If progressive feminists could convince people to implement their solutions without forcing people to, libertarians would support it.

    That is complete and utter bullshit. NONE of the disagreements for which the outspoken feminists here at FtB, at Skepchick, and at Friendly Atheist have gotten lambasted by people claiming to be "equity feminists" have involved these outspoken feminists trying to achieve their ends through legislative or governmental means. They have been speaking out to change hearts and minds, and to convince private entities to voluntarily enact certain policies. This is what you claim libertarians would totally support. And yet people making libertarian-inspired arguments have compared them to Nazis and the Stasi. They get rape and death threats from people who insist they're feminists, but they're "equity feminists" which is a concept build on an explicitly libertarian foundation.

    Look, you may be the platonic ideal of your image of the perfect libertarian, and TO YOU voluntary consciousness-raising is A-Ok. Well, great. Then this thread isn't about you. This thread is about those who are claiming we're illegitimate, man-hating "gender feminists" when we speak up for ourselves EVEN WHEN ADVOCATING NON-GOVERNMENTAL ACTION. I go into more detail about this here. This thread is about people who claim we have no intellectual basis for saying they are opposed to social justice, and who use libertarian arguments to claim that our needs for social justice are trivial and/or invalid. We’re not talking about what the ideal libertarian should be. We are talking about how those who claim to be libertarians are trying to impede our goals–and quite frequently that means DISMISSING any injustice that is not explicitly carried out by the state and vilifying even non-legislative means to correct it (again, see the link!). If that’s not you, then great. But this is what we’re dealing with and what we need to talk about.

    I am still writing through addressing your other misconceptions in your previous post. It might be a while, but I wanted to let you know I’m working on it.

  153. 153
    LeftSidePositive

    Fucking blockquotes, man! How do they work?!?!

  154. 154
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    That is complete and utter bullshit. NONE of the disagreements for which the outspoken feminists here at FtB, at Skepchick, and at Friendly Atheist have gotten lambasted by people claiming to be "equity feminists" have involved these outspoken feminists trying to achieve their ends through legislative or governmental means. They have been speaking out to change hearts and minds, and to convince private entities to voluntarily enact certain policies. This is what you claim libertarians would totally support. And yet people making libertarian-inspired arguments have compared them to Nazis and the Stasi. They get rape and death threats from people who insist they're feminists, but they're "equity feminists" which is a concept build on an explicitly libertarian foundation.

    Again, unless you hold me accountable for all people whose thoughts you think (or they claim) are libertarian-inspired I do not see how this is a criticism of me. Also, I people saying they disagree with you (or making fun of you) is part of freedom of expression. The fun part of that is that I fully support banning people since this is only a public forum in that it is accessible to everyone (not that it is publicly run). I have not said those people are right (though on occasion I think they are) when they complain about specific ideas. I have not and never will condone the threats, which I sincerely hope inspire legal backlash against those who make them.

    Look, you may be the platonic ideal of your image of the perfect libertarian, and TO YOU voluntary consciousness-raising is A-Ok. Well, great. Then this thread isn't about you. This thread is about those who are claiming we're illegitimate, man-hating "gender feminists" when we speak up for ourselves EVEN WHEN ADVOCATING NON-GOVERNMENTAL ACTION.

    I never said I was the target of this post (in fact I have said explicitly that I probably was not). Also you have not seen me defending say, Steersman or anyone else making the ‘gender feminist’ argument, but you have seen me respond to what I think are incorrect criticisms of libertarian thought.

    This thread is about people who claim we have no intellectual basis for saying they are opposed to social justice, and who use libertarian arguments to claim that our needs for social justice are trivial and/or invalid. We’re not talking about what the ideal libertarian should be. We are talking about how those who claim to be libertarians are trying to impede our goals–and quite frequently that means DISMISSING any injustice that is not explicitly carried out by the state and vilifying even non-legislative means to correct it (again, see the link!). If that’s not you, then great. But this is what we’re dealing with and what we need to talk about.

    By all means, continue to deluge people making those arguments with that special mix of data and vitriol that is so loved on the internet, I have not tried to stop you (or argued that you should stop). Point to where I am silencing you or anyone else and I will correct my behavior. If you simply disagree with me thats great, I look forward to the argument.

    I am still writing through addressing your other misconceptions in your previous post. It might be a while, but I wanted to let you know I’m working on it.

    I look forward to it.

  155. 155
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    ‘Also, I people saying they’ should have no ‘I.’

  156. 156
    LeftSidePositive

    Again, unless you hold me accountable for all people whose thoughts you think (or they claim) are libertarian-inspired I do not see how this is a criticism of me.

    It isn’t, and I never said it was. You even quoted me saying “Great. Then this post isn’t about you.” What more do you want? This post is about people claiming to be “equity feminists” and their claims to be legitimate social justice advocates. YOU are the one who is making it all about you.

    Also, I people saying they disagree with you (or making fun of you) is part of freedom of expression.

    And I never said they should be thrown in jail or fined by the government for expressing themselves. (This part is a criticism specifically of you: HOLY SHIT YOU FUCKING IDIOT, did you just try to claim “freedom of expression” in defense of these posters being CRITICIZED?! Read the fucking Constitution, dumbfuck! I can say someone is being a shitty person for what ze expresses. I can say the source of zir disagreement has no intellectual or ethical merit, and still not be trying to legally silence zir speech!! This is not hard.) You said libertarians would support non-governmental advocacy. I showed you that they are actually trying to dissuade us from that, so your point is simply wrong. I never said that they didn’t have the legal right to criticize; I just showed that what you claim to be a principled stand against government intervention in some matters is actually resistance to changing those matters by any means.

    Furthermore, by this incredibly ignorant and ill-reasoned comment of yours, you have proved yourself, at least in this instance, to be displaying the same trait that I was describing with such disdain: to quote a principle like “freedom of expression,” when someone’s opinion is only being described contemptuously (and maybe kicked off a PRIVATE blog), but not being actually censored in any way, you are using the language of being free from state interference to try to get yourself to be free of ANY type of check on your behavior, including by means of voluntary social consciousness-raising.

    but you have seen me respond to what I think are incorrect criticisms of libertarian thought.

    AND I DON’T GIVE A FUCK. I don’t care if those people who are opposing harassment policies, inclusion of marginalized perspectives, Atheism+, etc, are being bad libertarians. I care that they are making arguments and agitating in ways that do material harm to causes and people that I care about. If the people using libertarian rhetoric and labels to impede women’s (and other marginalized groups’) participation in movement skepticism/atheism are incorrect in how they apply libertarianism, why don’t you take it up with them?

  157. 157
    Iamcuriousblue

    #145

    LSP -

    If you really want to have a conversation, I would ask you to stop behaving like a nasty strawmanning *piece of shit* yourself. What I see most of all in your arguments is somebody who has some serious growing up to do.

    As for my evaluation of scientific analysis, perhaps it is you who don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, since you throw a non-sequitur as an attempt at one-upmanship. “Null hypotheses” can exist on many levels, and obviously, the degree of investigation that would definitively falsify the claim that biology influences behavior is a great deal more extensive than simply falsifying or failing to falsify the efficacy of a drug in a simple trial. The former would, of course, require *many* experiments to definitively rule out a question that really is the amalgam of a large subset of scientific questions, while the latter could be falsified even at the point of a Phase I trial. (I suggest you *and Stephanie Zvan* read up on the concept of “naive falsification” some time.)

    Oh, and since you’ve set yourself up as judge of other people’s scientific knowledge, perhaps I might ask you what your CV is? Publications? Ever worked in science as a researcher, or even teacher or technician? Or in areas of philosophy or history related to science? Or is your conversation on science merely limited to being a blowhard on the internet?

    I can tell you as somebody who has taught science that an argumentative essay that was written with the level of argumentation you present here would not remotely earn a passing grade.

  158. 158
    Iamcuriousblue

    LFP – the “freedom of expression” issues come up when the FTB/Skepchick/A+ folks start talking about things like throwing “libertarians”, among others, out of the atheist movement, and certainly both Jen McCreight and Greta Christina have gone so far as to suggest an ideological purge. (Want me to find the quotes? They’ve actually said this, even if there’s been a bit of backpeddling lately suggesting A+ is merely pursuing their own independent movement.) Yes, I realize Jen and Greta are not the government, but the rhetoric coming from them and other belligerent members of the A+ crowd certainly do raise questions about what level of dissent and disagreement they would even begin to allow within the atheist movement as a whole.

    Banning “sexualized imagery” at meetings or treating t-shirts proclaiming that one is “not a skepchick” as an incident of harassment speaks to a movement utterly lacking in internal democracy and free exchange of ideas, and that certainly does raise questions about what kind of policies would be pursued if –ahem– “social justice” types of that ilk actually were elected to office.

  159. 159
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    It isn’t, and I never said it was. You even quoted me saying “Great. Then this post isn’t about you.” What more do you want? This post is about people claiming to be “equity feminists” and their claims to be legitimate social justice advocates. YOU are the one who is making it all about you.

    Though it is difficult to take a statement in reply to me as anything other than directed at me (even when you say its ‘not really’ directed at me ) I will endeavor to not take them personally.

    And I never said they should be thrown in jail or fined by the government for expressing themselves. (This part is a criticism specifically of you: HOLY SHIT YOU FUCKING IDIOT, did you just try to claim “freedom of expression” in defense of these posters being CRITICIZED?! Read the fucking Constitution, dumbfuck! I can say someone is being a shitty person for what ze expresses. I can say the source of zir disagreement has no intellectual or ethical merit, and still not be trying to legally silence zir speech!! This is not hard.) You said libertarians would support non-governmental advocacy. I showed you that they are actually trying to dissuade us from that, so your point is simply wrong. I never said that they didn’t have the legal right to criticize; I just showed that what you claim to be a principled stand against government intervention in some matters is actually resistance to changing those matters by any means.

    At no point did I tell you that you couldn’t, or imply that their speech was being oppressed by the government. I in fact defended tossing them off this or other blogs as the blog owners see fit. I never said libertarians would not try and talk you out of doing things they disagree with, but talking to you is not stopping you. This is not resistance to change using any means, it is peaceful dissent. When it steps over that line I also condemn it. If this movement can not withstand peaceful dissent then it has problems aside from people calling it names.

    Furthermore, by this incredibly ignorant and ill-reasoned comment of yours, you have proved yourself, at least in this instance, to be displaying the same trait that I was describing with such disdain: to quote a principle like “freedom of expression,” when someone’s opinion is only being described contemptuously (and maybe kicked off a PRIVATE blog), but not being actually censored in any way, you are using the language of being free from state interference to try to get yourself to be free of ANY type of check on your behavior, including by means of voluntary social consciousness-raising.

    This is possibly where you have had a reading comprehension error:

    The fun part of that is that I fully support banning people since this is only a public forum in that it is accessible to everyone (not that it is publicly run).

    By all means, continue to deluge people making those arguments with that special mix of data and vitriol that is so loved on the internet, I have not tried to stop you (or argued that you should stop). Point to where I am silencing you or anyone else and I will correct my behavior. If you simply disagree with me thats great, I look forward to the argument.

    AND I DON’T GIVE A FUCK. I don’t care if those people who are opposing harassment policies, inclusion of marginalized perspectives, Atheism+, etc, are being bad libertarians. I care that they are making arguments and agitating in ways that do material harm to causes and people that I care about. If the people using libertarian rhetoric and labels to impede women’s (and other marginalized groups’) participation in movement skepticism/atheism are incorrect in how they apply libertarianism, why don’t you take it up with them?

    Well, I am hoping some of them here take the que to stop doing some of the things you accuse them of. In various sub-reddits I do argue with the ‘source’ of some of these problems but I think arguing about this with an audience that contains people who do not distinctly 100% agree with me or the other interlocutors is good for refining of our arguments (usually). I am not claiming these ‘other people’ whoever they may be are ‘doing libertarianism wrong’ but I do take issue with being held accountable for their behavior when it is not mine.

  160. 160
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    Iamcuriousblue, they are free to not want us in their club. They are free to create ‘banned content’ from their gatherings. They are private individuals convening at private events. I agree with you that these ideas are probably self defeating, but it is theirs to screw up.

    When the groups stop being private, and the gatherings become government sponsored then you have a complaint. I was actually defending the peoples front of judea’s rights to exclude the judean people’s front from their meetings (and bad mouth them all they want, because their ability to do these things is the same one we have to tell them they are wrong).

  161. 161
    LeftSidePositive

    strawmanning

    This is a specific term with a specific meaning. You can’t just throw it around to describe anything you don’t like. State exactly what strawman I made and why it was a strawman, or shut the fuck up.

    See, I have already done this: you strawmanned “we will not accept any claim of biological gender differences until evidence is provided for it” to “we declare that all gender differences are exclusively social constructs!” Note: rational position being mutated into indefensible position.

    What I see most of all in your arguments is somebody who has some serious growing up to do.

    Thank you for your concern. Now fuck off, tone troll.

    since you throw a non-sequitur

    Again, this is a specific term with a specific meaning. Don’t just throw it out there without articulating it.

    “Null hypotheses” can exist on many levels,

    None of which can possibly be “radical,” and none of which are making a positive claim about the world.

    the degree of investigation that would definitively falsify the claim that biology influences behavior is a great deal more extensive

    Sorry, but “it’s hard” is not an excuse for not having data, nor is it a valid criticism of why we won’t accept your claims.

    Also, you don’t really understand what “falsify” means–falsification is a standard regarding MAKING a claim moreso than testing it. And you haven’t done that yet: state a specific behavior that you think is biologically-based to differ by gender. Make it clear to what behavior you refer, so that there are a priori standards to tell when you’re wrong: this is what falsifiable means.

    As for testing, the burden is not to falsify the claim (rather, it is assumed to be false until proven otherwise! e.g.: “there’s an invisible ballet-dancing karma-granting unicorn in my kitchen!–falsify it!!!”); the burden of proof is on providing positive support for the claim. Really, this is elementary.

    So, neither the claim that a gender difference is biologically influenced nor the efficacy of a drug have to be definitively falsified–we don’t need to absolutely eliminate the possibility that these could be true, rather if the data don’t clearly distinguish themselves from what would have happened if this gender difference were socially constructed or if the drug were the same as placebo, we will continue to treat the gender difference as socially constructed and the drug as useless until data shows otherwise.

    than simply falsifying or failing to falsify the efficacy of a drug in a simple trial.

    But the null hypothesis works in the same way, even if it is harder to control for stuff in the former case. The null hypothesis is still not a truth claim. I never claimed that these would be TESTED with the same methodology. I illustrated that they have similar null hypotheses.

    Oh, and since you’ve set yourself up as judge of other people’s scientific knowledge, perhaps I might ask you what your CV is? Publications?

    Right. Because I could totally do that without compromising my anonymity. Secondly, asking for my experience is really just the flipside of argument from authority. My criticism of your scientific reasoning should apply no matter who I am–arguments stand on their own.

    Goodness, for a skeptic, you sure are fucking up a lot with the logical fallacies.

    Ever worked in science as a researcher, or even teacher or technician?

    Yes, all.

    Or in areas of philosophy or history related to science?

    Yes, a masters and postgraduate training in these & related fields, in fact.

    I can tell you as somebody who has taught science

    Your poor, poor students.

    an argumentative essay that was written with the level of argumentation you present here

    It’s not my fault you can’t understand a simple analogy. It’s not my fault you can’t understand declarative sentences stating a position.

  162. 162
    LeftSidePositive

    At no point did I tell you that you couldn’t, or imply that their speech was being oppressed by the government.

    Yes you did. You used the phrase “freedom of expression,” which refers to the right to be free from governmental interference in speech. What else could “freedom of expression” possibly mean? Why did you use it? Why did you find it necessary to tell me that a bunch of douchebags have the right to freedom of expression unless you think I didn’t know already or that I was trying to inappropriately limit their speech? Why would you consider “freedom of expression” a reasonable rebuttal (or even relevant) to “these people’s position is logically inconsistent”?

    I never said libertarians would not try and talk you out of doing things they disagree with, but talking to you is not stopping you.

    But you said they would SUPPORT non-governmental advocacy. This is what you said:


    If progressive feminists could convince people to implement their solutions without forcing people to, libertarians would support it.

    This statement is factually untrue. Libertarians are not SUPPORTING feminists trying to non-forcibly convince people. They are actively trying to dissuade us from doing so. Trying to talk us out of doing something IS NOT SUPPORTING IT. Yes, they have a legal right to try to dissuade, but you vouched for their values in saying they would SUPPORT this kind of approach, because (you claimed) they were only opposed to state interference. You are totally wrong: we successfully convinced private conferences to adopt the harassment policies we suggested, and did not have to sue the conferences, change laws, or use any governmental powers to achieve our goals; we just offered good arguments which private individuals and groups accepted and voluntarily acted upon. You said libertarians would support this, and instead they blew a fucking gasket!

    This is not resistance to change using any means, it is peaceful dissent.

    Actually, “any means” in that sentence referred to the means that feminists were using, and that we were being lambasted for any means we used, whether governmental OR consciousness-raising.

    This is possibly where you have had a reading comprehension error:

    No, you found it necessary to remind me of their “freedom of expression.” Even if you concede that you’ll accept that they be banned here, you were still using the language of state control to respond to simple criticism which necessarily implies that my criticism of them is an encroachment on their freedom, or you would have no need to remind me of their freedom (or do you randomly remind posters of others’ constitutional rights when they are criticized? A: “This guy’s position makes no sense.” B: “Remember that this guy has the freedom not to have soldiers quartered in his house in peacetime!”). Again, why was it even necessary to say? What were you trying to communicate? What were you trying to accomplish?

    but I think arguing about this with an audience that contains people who do not distinctly 100% agree with me or the other interlocutors is good for refining of our arguments (usually).

    In general, yes. But that’s not what this thread is for. This thread is for defining the position of and evaluating the evidence behind “equity feminism” as it is used by people upset at not being considered social justice advocates.

    but I do take issue with being held accountable for their behavior when it is not mine.

    We didn’t say it was yours. We said it was the position of the “equity feminists,” which is a position based extensively on libertarian ideas, and is adopted by self-identified libertarians (and, more importantly, libertarians that we actually deal with here, not libertarians off in fringelalalibertarianfanfiction.geocities.com or something!). Again, it’s not about you, unless you endorse the principles to which we are objecting.

  163. 163
    A Lowly Apprentice

    112 – LeftSidePositive

    There have been fMRI studies that prove there are nuerological differences between the sexes. Notably in the realm of emotion regulation.

    Neuropsychologia 45 (2007) 2744–2754
    Gender differences in the cognitive control of emotion: An fMRI study
    Kathrin Koch, Katharina Pauly, Thilo Kellermann, Nina Y. Seiferth, Martina Reske, Volker Backes, Tony Stocker, N. Jon Shah, Katrin Amuntsa, Tilo Kircher,Frank Schneider, Ute Habel

    An excerpt from the abstract.

    “Both groups were found to be significantly impaired in their working memory performance by negative emotion induction. However, fMRI analysis revealed distinct differences in neuronal activation between groups. In men, cognitive performance under negative emotion induction was associated with extended activation patterns in mainly prefrontal and superior parietal regions. In women, the interaction between emotion and working memory yielded a significantly stronger response in the amygdala and the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) compared to their male counterparts. Our data suggest that in women the interaction of verbal working memory and negative emotion is associated with relative hyperactivation in more emotion-associated areas whereas in men regions commonly regarded as important for cognition and cognitive control are activated. These results provide new insights in gender-specific cerebral mechanisms.”

    Thee are fMRI studies on gender. Most seem to point to some fundamental neurological differences.

    You may also wish to look into oxcytocin and depression if you feel so inclined.

  164. 164
    Forbidden Snowflake

    A lowly apprentice:
    1. While I do not presume to speak of any particular case, neurological differences may not necessarily be innate, given human brain plasticity.
    2. Neurological differences may not map 1:1 (or even at all) to behavioral differences. In fact, in the study you cite, men’s and women’s behavioral responses to the stimulus were similar, despite differences in neurological activity. Please note section 4.1 (“Performance data” under “Discussion”).

  165. 165
    FeministWhore

    If the question had been framed differently, if for example you’d asked for evidence of real life consequences of policy based on concepts from what is being called gender feminism, I’d have offered this:

    “FEMINISM, POWER, AND SEX WORK IN THE CONTEXT OF HIV/AIDS: CONSEQUENCES FOR WOMEN’S HEALTH”

    http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlg/vol341/225-258.pdf


    So, even though you didn’t ask for that sort of evidence I thought I’d submit it anyway.

  166. 166
    TwoPiDeltaIJ

    Yes you did. You used the phrase “freedom of expression,” which refers to the right to be free from governmental interference in speech. What else could “freedom of expression” possibly mean? Why did you use it? Why did you find it necessary to tell me that a bunch of douchebags have the right to freedom of expression unless you think I didn’t know already or that I was trying to inappropriately limit their speech? Why would you consider “freedom of expression” a reasonable rebuttal (or even relevant) to “these people’s position is logically inconsistent”?

    At worst what I have done by using ‘freedom of expression’ as a phrase is mischaracterize my own argument. It seems clear you understood what I meant, but intend to harp upon what is admittedly a phrase which in many instances does not apply as I used it. I will be more careful in the future to never use language which can be construed as meaning state sponsored rights, because it is clear that there is no implied freedom of expression in what is essentially an open forum.

    I never said libertarians would not try and talk you out of doing things they disagree with, but talking to you is not stopping you.

    But you said they would SUPPORT non-governmental advocacy. This is what you said:


    If progressive feminists could convince people to implement their solutions without forcing people to, libertarians would support it.

    This statement is factually untrue. Libertarians are not SUPPORTING feminists trying to non-forcibly convince people. They are actively trying to dissuade us from doing so. Trying to talk us out of doing something IS NOT SUPPORTING IT. Yes, they have a legal right to try to dissuade, but you vouched for their values in saying they would SUPPORT this kind of approach, because (you claimed) they were only opposed to state interference. You are totally wrong: we successfully convinced private conferences to adopt the harassment policies we suggested, and did not have to sue the conferences, change laws, or use any governmental powers to achieve our goals; we just offered good arguments which private individuals and groups accepted and voluntarily acted upon. You said libertarians would support this, and instead they blew a fucking gasket!

    I do not real want to argue with you (here) about the objections people had to conference rules. As to ‘libertarians’ ‘blowing a gasket’ (a fucking gasket or other kinds) I again disagree with your characterization of motive (and maybe of your characterization of who is in the ‘blew a gasket’ group). I think if you want a good example of a libertarian doing exactly what I said they would do, here is Penn Jillette, “You can’t stop insane people from doing insane things by passing insane laws-that’s insane!” Did he go around and physically try and stop you from implementing said policies? Probably not, nor did he say ‘what a great idea, which I totally disagree with, here have some money’ which seems to be what you would have him (or more generally, us) do.

    This is possibly where you have had a reading comprehension error:

    No, you found it necessary to remind me of their “freedom of expression.” Even if you concede that you’ll accept that they be banned here, you were still using the language of state control to respond to simple criticism which necessarily implies that my criticism of them is an encroachment on their freedom, or you would have no need to remind me of their freedom (or do you randomly remind posters of others’ constitutional rights when they are criticized? A: “This guy’s position makes no sense.” B: “Remember that this guy has the freedom not to have soldiers quartered in his house in peacetime!”). Again, why was it even necessary to say? What were you trying to communicate? What were you trying to accomplish?

    You directly accused me of saying something I had in the previous reply said the opposite of. As to the rest of the snark, see my previous reply (in this response).

    In general, yes. But that’s not what this thread is for. This thread is for defining the position of and evaluating the evidence behind “equity feminism” as it is used by people upset at not being considered social justice advocates.

    That might have been the intent, but it has been clear since comment 51 (at least) that the topic had changed, at least a little bit. I have also several times mentioned that if I am off topic I am perfectly willing to be scolded into going back ‘on topic’ which has not happened.

    We didn’t say it was yours. We said it was the position of the “equity feminists,” which is a position based extensively on libertarian ideas, and is adopted by self-identified libertarians (and, more importantly, libertarians that we actually deal with here, not libertarians off in fringelalalibertarianfanfiction.geocities.com or something!). Again, it’s not about you, unless you endorse the principles to which we are objecting.

    I have already explained why I think ‘equity’ feminism probably is compatible with a libertarian view of equality, but we mean a different thing by equality. Then we go round and round arguing about which equal is really equal. I do not think I am in the fringe of libertarian thought, but maybe I am wrong (there is not a lot of polling data available on this topic).

  167. 167
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Iamcuriousblue

    One does not have to believe that humans are ants to accept the idea that human behavior and society is influenced, to some degree, by underlying biology. To say that human social behavior has completely escaped its biological roots and now “culture is king”, imprinting whatever norms we as a society choose onto blank slates is, in fact, a very radical hypothesis, and like all extraordinary claims, should have some extraordinary evidence to back it up.

    Which, again, nobody here has done.
    I’m glad you are familiar with her work so we don’t have to cover the basics. What fine has done is to show that so far all the proposed biological explenations for gender differences have failed, that we have very strong evidence for heavy cultural influences and that therefore we should be very skeptical indeed of people citing biology for gender differences and especially “just so” stories. To accept the idea that “human behavior and society is influenced, to some degree, by underlying biology” means that each and every claim about this still has to be evidenced. The null hypothesis can’t be “there’s a gender difference and it’s biological”.

    And she has definitely not confirmed the more radical null hypothesis that biology does not have meaningful influence on behavior.

    Uhm, you do understand that the null-hypothesis isn’t what you confirm but what you disprove.
    Before the null-hypothesis was, more or less, gender differences are biological (even before people knew what a null hypothesis is.) That has been disproven time after time again with specific instances and has been proven to be cultural. Therefore, the null hypothesis should be that a gender-difference is cultural until you can show it’s biological.
    The null-hypothesis is “innocent until proven guilty”

    LFP – the “freedom of expression” issues come up when the FTB/Skepchick/A+ folks start talking about things like throwing “libertarians”, among others, out of the atheist movement, and certainly both Jen McCreight and Greta Christina have gone so far as to suggest an ideological purge.

    Wrong. They’ve said something about A+, not about the Atheist Movement. You can still be as much an atheist as you want to be, but if you don’t identify with the aims and goals the group that proposed A+ has set for this, you can’t be a member of that subgroup. If tomorrow there formed a group who called themselves A-V, atheist vegetarians, they would surely say that I can’t be a part of the group cause I eat meat. So what?

    +++
    A lowly Apprentice

    Thee are fMRI studies on gender. Most seem to point to some fundamental neurological differences.

    Yes, and they are problematic
    A)Usually very small sample groups which make chance findings very probable
    B) Drawer effect: studies that don’t find differences are never published and are not taken into account
    C) Very fine differences are meassured and taken as signifficant. Those are often s fine that the changes can be meassured in a dead salmon taking the test
    D)Grown men and women aren’t really good subjects to study such things because you can’t control for culture. Every interaction in your life changes your brain.

    +++++

    If progressive feminists could convince people to implement their solutions without forcing people to, libertarians would support it.

    It’s funny since what most people here have argued is:
    -implementing codes of conduct at private conventions (I though libertarians were big on business being allowed to set their own rules)
    -educating people (Why is calling women bitches and cunts bad?)
    -calling people out on their bullshit
    That has made us the Feminazis of the Femistasi who want to ban sex….
    As for forcing, yes, we think that all kids should be able to have fun at the playground, not just the big bully who occupies the swing all the time.

  168. 168
    LeftSidePositive

    @162–and you’re trying to claim that by the time these people have grown up and consented to participate in a study they have *not* been exposed to different behavioral expectations for, what, 18+ years? Are you trying to claim that any activation signal in the brain of an adult MUST be the result of genetic/evolutionary factors? Are you claiming that the differences in brain activation demonstrated must necessarily lead to meaningful psychological or behavioral differences? Are you claiming that we know enough about how neural networks are mapped to confidently assess what roles each brain region may be playing? Are you not aware that brains LEARN things, and this learning is encoded in neural connections in the brain which may affect its activation patterns?

    Are you not aware that life experience can dramatically change neural networking? London cabbies are noted to have larger hippocampi after a lifetime of activating spatial-related networks. Violinists show motor cortex differences between the hand that does the bowing versus the hand that works the strings. People with neurologic injury show extensive remodeling of the brain regions around the injured area, and with therapy can regain function through network remapping and potentiation of previously under-utilized networks. Amputees show expansion of regions controlled by neighboring body parts into the still-working brain cells that used to respond to the amputated part. Restriction of stimuli shows marked differences in the structural connectivity in the brains of cats and kittens. The neurotransmitter profile and the density of different types of receptors on dendrites can be induced to undergo dramatic change, especially through effects of the NMDA receptor. Activation patterns can dramatically alter the morphology of dendritic spines. All of these strongly indicate that the adult brain is not a genetically-determined entity, but that the patterns identified on the fMRI are heavily dependent on the subject’s prior experience and learning.

    Are you trying to claim that a sample size of 39 people is enough to speculate about biological hard-wiring? Are we sure that they were adequately matched with regard to age, race, common genetic polymorphisms, education level, alcohol & drug use, psychiatric history, medical comorbidities, and any number of similar factors that could sway the results of a sample this small? Are we sure that there was no induction of “stereotype threat” or similar gender priming that would affect how subjects performed the task? Are you trying to claim that file-drawer bias doesn’t strongly lead to the publication of studies that DO show significant differences over those that don’t?

    So, even if we accept, for the moment, that this study was methodologically valid, the strongest claim that can be drawn from it is that after 20-odd years of varying experiences, human brains show differences between genders. It does NOT provide any evidence as to whether these differences are innate as opposed to acquired.

  169. 169
    LeftSidePositive

    @162:

    By the way, the simple fact of how much experience you have with a task can affect your patterns of brain activation:

    Experience-dependent Modulation of Category-related Cortical Activity
    http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/12/5/545.short

    So if women have been encouraged all their lives to be more emotional, and men have been discouraged, they will have different levels of practice with different cognitive approaches which will likely show different potentiation levels.

    And life experiences such as PTSD can cause differences in regulation of activation in emotional centers of the brain:

    http://ase.tufts.edu/psychology/documents/pubsShinfMRIStudy.pdf

    So–you cite a study involving adults and you find differences in the brain in regions that are known to be affected by environmental/experiential factors of the subject, and use that as evidence for INHERENT differences between the sexes? Color me not impressed.

  170. 170
    LeftSidePositive

    Oh, and lest you continue to think brain activation patterns show biological determinalism/innate differences, there are differences in brain activation patterns in identical twins based on environmental factors, in this case smoking:

    https://editorialexpress.com/cgi-bin/conference/download.cgi?db_name=BGA2011&paper_id=154

  171. 171
    A Lowly Apprentice

    #162 – Forbidden Snowflake
    #165 – LeftSidePositive

    “but you have not provided any evidence whatsoever to show any difference that is actually biological.”

    I was responding to that specific statement. I showed a biological difference. Did you not notice I made no claims. All I did was quote an abstract. Did I state these differences were innate and were present at birth and persist through various stages of human development.

    Can you show me a study that shows what amount of neurological modeling is influenced by environment? It would be appreciated.

  172. 172
    Iamcuriousblue

    #159

    Evidently you don’t understand the difference between a general claim and a specific one if you’re going to go on claiming that the level of evidence required for a narrow claim like the efficacy of a drug vis a vis a specific condition vs much broader claims about whether or not there is biological influence on behavior. Do your really think one small set of experiments, the equivalent of a drug trial, would be sufficient to falsify *that* hypothesis? I would think science would have dealt with the entire biology/behavior debate *long* ago were that the case. As it stands, much of it is still an open question.

    As for “nobody’s saying” there’s no biological influence, well, actually some feminists and “social justice” types *do* argue that, and many more, while claiming they don’t reject it in theory, accept dodgy social constructionist ideas while rejecting any form of evolutionary psychology completely out of hand. And before you *strawman* me as being a blind supporter of evolutionary psychology, I think there’s a great deal to criticize with the methodology of those studies, but on the other hand, much of the kind of “social psychology” Pharyngula wiki, etc links to has the same methodological flaws. (e.g., sample sizes of 20 undergraduate students as stand-ins for humanity more generally.)

    It’s nice that you don’t take that extreme position vis a vis biology and behavior, but I’m going to point to the same argument you’re using on libertarians – you expect me to argue only against an idealized, rational, rights-respecting king of social justice, rather than the not-so-nice version I see on the ground.

    Similarly, Stephanie asking for a list of links to demonstrate the empirical basis for an entire set of complex political beliefs is high foolishness. And something Stephanie has not done herself, for all the pointing toward the Pharyngula wiki.

    As for tone, well yes, your tone is fucking childish, and I *do* think there is a relationship between tone and content, and in this case, using name-calling to try to win an argument through intimidation, and cover for the fact that you’re making some extremely sloppy arguments.

    And you actually work in the sciences? Wow – no wonder you hide behind complete anonymity! (I’m pseudanonymous, BTW – a few minutes of googling could turn up my identity very easily.) Do you make blog comments to simply get out your inner asshole and attack people for the apparently high crime of disagreeing with your oh-so-perfect set of politics? Apparently. Because the level of argumentation you present, even if stripped of the constant insults, would never cut it in a rational debate around science or any other issue.

    You think I’m going to go on the defensive toward the shitty arguments and strawmans you’ve employed here? Not by a long shot.

  173. 173
    LeftSidePositive

    @A Lowly Apprentice: the whole argument here is whether there is evidence for gendered behavior being biologically dictated versus socially-constructed, and that “specific statement” you quoted out of context had a prior clause that used “socially constructed” contrast with “biological”. Something can start out as a social construct and sure as hell have biological effects later (although I’d say “physiological effects” to clarify that we are talking about the life processes within a living thing, not the adaptations of groups of life forms)–frat boys’ drinking patterns are a social construct, and they sure as hell end up having real biochemical effects on their livers! Similarly, no one would say there was a “biological” difference why people who live in neighborhoods with no fresh produce, tons of fast food and no safe walking paths are disproportionately obese, even though these social factors severely impact the metabolic processes of these people.

    YOU claimed these were “fundamental neurological differences” after you quoted the abstract. What exactly does fundamental mean here if not biologically-determined? How would a difference be defined as “fundamental” if it were the product of different environmental factors over decades? Is it really likely that you’d swan in and quote a paper that shed no insight whatsoever on the topic under discussion, and pointedly address your comment to me? Admit it: you thought you had a slam-dunk argument for biologic determinalism and you didn’t realize you were talking to someone with extensive experience in neuroimaging research…

    How the hell WOULD a study show how much neurological modeling is influenced by environment? I think you need to seriously refine your research question:

    1. What is a baseline environment?
    2. How do you quantify a difference in environment?
    3. How would you ascribe which neurological differences to which aspects of the environment?
    4. How do you assess the possibility that some subjects may be more susceptible to environmental influences than others?
    5. I mean, you can do some interventional stuff with cats and subject them to extreme sensory deprivation, and so on, but there’s not really an ethical way to subject human beings to tightly-controlled social environments, much less know how much neurophysiological change is artifact and how much is psychologically relevant.

  174. 174
    Iamcuriousblue

    @159

    One other thing:

    “So, neither the claim that a gender difference is biologically influenced nor the efficacy of a drug have to be definitively falsified–we don’t need to absolutely eliminate the possibility that these could be true, rather if the data don’t clearly distinguish themselves from what would have happened if this gender difference were socially constructed or if the drug were the same as placebo, we will continue to treat the gender difference as socially constructed and the drug as useless until data shows otherwise.”

    What you utterly fail to provide a good argument for is why gender differences in behavior should be treated as “social constructs” *by default*. I could just as easily say that in the case of ambiguous data, that I continue to treat that particular gender difference as innate. And I hope you see the problem with that argument. Rather, I’d treat ambiguous data as “cause unknown” by default. And refrain from basing relevant social policy on either an assumption of innateness for that behavior nor the claim that it’s an arbitrary social construct.

  175. 175
    A Lowly Apprentice

    169 – LeftSidePositive

    “Admit it: you thought you had a slam-dunk argument for biologic determinalism and you didn’t realize you were talking to someone with extensive experience in neuroimaging research…”

    I did not think I had a slam dunk. I think you possibly projected that into my comment. Possibly due to the almost 200 comments under this post. I admit I did not read every single comment. So yes, I did hop into the middle of a conversation. Now I see, you have been kerfuffling. Vigorously. And my posting after you provided a reply and links, that I did not see, certainly makes it look like I was here to argue.

    The definition of fundamental you are using is not the one I am using. Does fundamental inherently mean biologically-determined? For me it does not. I was thinking more in terms of function not origin. So fundamental is probably too strong of a word to use.

    You state that social constructs can lead to biological outcomes. Do you think the reverse is possible over time within a collection of people? And, I’m not advocating biologic determinalism, I’m trying to inject myself into a discussion. I took some time to collect studies of which I found several in full and made a comment…

    …and sure, you are not impressed. That is fine. I’m not a neurologist or an expert in imaging. I’m not a scientist. I’m not a researcher.

  176. 176
    Stephanie Zvan

    I have just completely messed up the numbering in this post by releasing comments containing evidentiary argument from moderation. Sorry about that folks. It’s a busy weekend.

    For those arguing about the null hypothesis, I already made my argument about the continuing dependence on biological determinism in the face of evidence for environmentalism, on another topic, here: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2011/05/25/the-politics-of-the-null-hypothesis/ iamcuriousblue, you are misrepresenting the argument as falsification through one or two studies. Stop that.

  177. 177
    LeftSidePositive

    @A Lowly Apprentice:

    Do you think the reverse is possible over time within a collection of people?

    Of course it’s possible. But that’s not the same as saying it’s actually happening. That’s why I have been very explicit in saying that no one here is claiming that gender is *entirely* socially constructed. Instead, my position is:


    What we’ve said is that LOTS of gender differences are socially constructed, and failing to recognize when something is socially constructed has caused great harm to women’s equality, and that things that used to be freely assumed to be biological differences have been debunked over, and over, and over again, so the appropriate null hypothesis is that a gender difference is a social construct UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE.

  178. 178
    LeftSidePositive

    -implementing codes of conduct at private conventions (I though libertarians were big on business being allowed to set their own rules)

    Yeah, why is it that when a business owner wants to ban a black person for a value-neutral, unchangeable physical trait, that is his sacred liberty and the glory of the free market, but when a convention owner wants to ban a person for deliberately undertaken *behavior* that has demonstrable harm to other people, it’s “HELP! HELP! I’m being repressed!”?

  179. 179
    LeftSidePositive

    Evidently you don’t understand the difference between a general claim and a specific one if you’re going to go on claiming that the level of evidence required for a narrow claim like the efficacy of a drug vis a vis a specific condition vs much broader claims about whether or not there is biological influence on behavior.

    No, you fucking idiot. I compared making claims about “biological differences” in toto to be as nonsensical as making claims about “drugs” in toto. I said that you need to articulate a specific biological difference and test it, much like you pick a specific drug and test it, AND IN BOTH CASES, you don’t presume your agent to be effective until you have proof!

    Do your really think one small set of experiments, the equivalent of a drug trial, would be sufficient to falsify *that* hypothesis?

    Didn’t I already explain to you that I was making an analogy about constructing a valid hypothesis, NOT the research techniques you’d go about to test it?

    By the way, you still don’t understand what falsify means. Read my prior comment again, I’ve already explained it once.

    actually some feminists and “social justice” types *do* argue that,

    As we’ve already said scads of times, THEY ARE NOT HERE. You have provided no evidence that they are part of atheist plus. You have ignored multiple incidents of atheist feminists criticizing woo in certain feminist schools.

    accept dodgy social constructionist ideas

    What does this mean? Find a claim about social construction and EXPLAIN why you think it’s dodgy. Just declaring it’s dodgy is not an argument.

    while rejecting any form of evolutionary psychology completely out of hand.

    No, we’re withholding our acceptance of a theory until we have adequate evidence. If you HAD any evidence, you could provide it.

    but on the other hand, much of the kind of “social psychology” Pharyngula wiki, etc links to has the same methodological flaws.

    This is a Tu Toque fallacy, and just because our research isn’t perfect doesn’t lend any support whatsoever for your opinion. Especially since you have cited no actual evidence.

    Also, small sample sizes are less of a problem when you’re not trying to generalize your findings to an innate biological difference, or if you’re not suggesting that your finding is the be-all-and-end-all explanation for social behavior. e.g.: 20 male volunteers showing sexist judgements of women only means that sexist judgments of women are a thing in the world, but makes no claim as to how prevalent it is, nor its social, economic, political, nor biological origin. All it says is “it seems that one of the many ways women may be held back in our society is that people like the guys in this study exist, and some non-zero percentage of women are going to have their careers affected by them…”

    you expect me to argue only against an idealized, rational, rights-respecting king of social justice, rather than the not-so-nice version I see on the ground.

    No, I’m expecting you to argue against what you see HERE. I have quoted and linked to people expressing the ideas to which I object, and they are commenters on this blog and in the atheist movement. You have failed to show that these views you’re criticizing have ANY relevance to atheist feminists.

    Similarly, Stephanie asking for a list of links to demonstrate the empirical basis for an entire set of complex political beliefs is high foolishness. And something Stephanie has not done herself, for all the pointing toward the Pharyngula wiki.

    It’s at least a place to start–you have provided NOTHING to indicate your views have any basis in rationality or the real world.

    using name-calling to try to win an argument through intimidation,

    That’s not true–I’m using name-calling to make it socially unacceptable to argue dishonestly and to misrepresent your opponent.

    and cover for the fact that you’re making some extremely sloppy arguments.

    But have you noticed you have *yet* to make a successful challenge to my arguments? You’ve just strawmanned and misunderstood analogies and showed shocking ignorance of basic scientific concepts.

    attack people for the apparently high crime of disagreeing with your oh-so-perfect set of politics?

    Not for disagreeing: for being intellectually dishonest. For strawmanning. For making the same logical fallacies over and over. For refusing to change positions in the face of evidence. For wasting people’s time making arguments using terms you plainly don’t understand. If you can’t defend your position without resorting to these things, maybe it might be time to rethink your position?!

    And I never said my politics were perfect. I just said they were better supported by evidence than yours.

    Because the level of argumentation you present, even if stripped of the constant insults, would never cut it in a rational debate around science or any other issue.

    Then provide a rational challenge to it. I’m still waiting.

    shitty arguments

    Have you noticed that every argument of mine thus far you have tried to claim was shitty was actually the result of you miserably failing to understand it?

    and strawmans

    Again, this is a claim of a specific flaw in reasoning, and one that you must substantiate. You have not done that yet.

  180. 180
    LeftSidePositive

    What you utterly fail to provide a good argument for is why gender differences in behavior should be treated as “social constructs” *by default*.

    Yes, actually I have:

    What we’ve said is that LOTS of gender differences are socially constructed, and failing to recognize when something is socially constructed has caused great harm to women’s equality, and that things that used to be freely assumed to be biological differences have been debunked over, and over, and over again, so the appropriate null hypothesis is that a gender difference is a social construct UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE.

    Also, you can modify a social construct, you can examine people living with different social constructs and assess the relative influence of each. You CANNOT strip people of all social context and observe what is innate biology. Therefore pure biology has to be a diagnosis of exclusion.

    I could just as easily say that in the case of ambiguous data, that I continue to treat that particular gender difference as innate. And I hope you see the problem with that argument.

    Because social constructs have been shown to exist. Innate biological differences in behavior have not.

    Here is a list of gender differences that have been proposed to be biological at some point in the past or present, but were revealed to be social constructs, in no particular order:

    1) Girls are attracted to pink and boys are attracted to blue, which is actually a marketing strategy developed in the early 20th Century.

    2) Mental illness is caused by the uterus roaming about the body, which is anatomically impossible (and many of the women denounced as “mentally ill” were actually just outspoken about not wanting to be dominated by their husbands or society).

    3) Girls have lower aptitude at math tests, which is actually heavily influenced by stereotype threat.

    4) Women are delicate fainting flowers, which was actually caused by corsets limiting their air supply.

    5) Women are less interested in casual sex, which was actually shown to be the result of the original research design replicating a “sexual harassment” scenario rather than a “casual sex” scenario. When attitudes toward casual sex were examined in a non-predatory scenario, women were just as likely as men to report interest.

    6) Women are too delicate to be medical doctors, which was actually just medical schools refusing to allow women.

    7) Women’s emotions make them unfit to serve in the military, but once allowed women have fought bravely (and there were women before that who dressed in drag to join!).

    8) Women are less good at negotiating raises, which was actually women being less rewarded by their bosses and coworkers than men in the same situation.

    9) Women are naturally more chaste, which was actually looking solely at the social expectations on upper-middle-class or above women, and was the result of the extreme social ostracism they would face if it were shown they weren’t.

    10) Women are insatiable sexual creatures while only men were able to rationally control their sexual urges (common in the renaissance & before), which is the exact opposite of the above, so they can’t both be believed to be true if one of them is a real biological predisposition!

    11) Women care more about beauty, which is actually billions of dollars of advertising shoved at them, and major social penalties if they fail to comply. (and ignores pre-industrial-revolution fashions, where the men dressed just as foppishly as the women)

    12) Women are inferior to men because their genitals create less “vital heat,” which is a concept the anatomist Galen simply made up.

    13) Children show innate preferences for toys stereotypically associated with their gender, but actually toy preference changes markedly depending on whether the caregiver has introduced the toy as one pertaining to one gender, or being neutral.

    14) Boys naturally prefer to play with trucks than dolls, but in fact young boys will play with dolls if they think no one is looking.

    15) Women possess infinite yin essence while men produce finite amounts of yang essence, neither of which actually exist.

    16) A women’s purity is dependent on her hymen, when actually some women are born without them, and they can rupture from all sorts of other activities.

    17) Women lack the intellectual rigor to become scientists or to participate in research because menstruation makes them irrational, which got pretty well debunked when women were allowed to, you know, do science.

    18) Women choose to stay at home with their kids, which is actually lots of social guilt imposed and differs dramatically based on the subculture in question and the incredibly high cost of childcare that can be most of someone’s salary, not to mention that many women claimed to be “opting out” of working to raise their kids were actually low-income women hit hard by systemic unemployment.

    19) Female skull proportions show developmental immaturity and intellectual inferiority, when in fact skull shape has no bearing on within-species intelligence whatsoever.

    20) Education would damage a woman’s uterus and make her infertile, which, um…no.

    Can you provide ANY sociobehavioral gender differences that have been proved to be biological?

    And refrain from basing relevant social policy on either an assumption of innateness for that behavior nor the claim that it’s an arbitrary social construct.

    This is a false dichotomy. A behavior might conceivably have some biological difference AND be exacerbated by social conditioning. If that behavior difference leads to inequality or harms a group of people, we are obligated to minimize that difference as much as possible. We CAN change our social constructs, but we CAN’T change our biology. Saying a difference is biological is an argument to just leave the status quo alone, and that continues to harm people. Treating a gender difference as though it were a social construct, even though we don’t know the exact proportion of contributions of society and biology, means that the harm of these unequal stereotypes can be minimized as much as possible.

  181. 181
    Steersman

    Stephanie (#177),

    Thank you for finally releasing from moderation, presumably, my “comments [#141,#144-still in moderation] containing evidentiary argument”.

    But, to test the waters with a brief comment since I won’t waste any more of my time if that is my status at the back of the bus, you might also want to reflect on Greg Laden’s comments in the YouTube video [@37:06] titled Gender Differences – Skepchick Convergence panel (which, I notice, you happened to chair), notably this (to the best of my transcribing abilities):

    … the human brain is a female brain that’s been damaged by testosterone at very early stages of life ….

    Apart from the fact that that seems not far removed from saying that “blacks are melanin damaged whites”, it is further amplified by this statement on his Science-Blogs post [Men = Testosterone Damaged Women!]:

    In a way, [men] are broken. They are damaged, if you will. Some of that damage is facilitated by what you may know of as testosterone (a word that stands in for androgens).

    But whatever you do, don’t mention this testosterone caused by damage thing because it will upset them.

    No kidding about the “upset” part – one might reasonably argue that that is part and parcel of the objections to the dogma at the heart of Atheism-Plus.

    But considering that one might also reasonably argue that that whole perspective – which he develops further in the video – constitutes if not a refutation of the hypothesis that “gender is a social construct” then at least a credible alternative to it, it seems that you – and company – are pretty much obliged to either throw him and his ilk under the bus or to consider if not concede that that hypothesis is anything but the only game in town.

  182. 182
    FeministWhore

    “Saying a difference is biological is an argument to just leave the status quo alone, and that continues to harm people. Treating a gender difference as though it were a social construct, even though we don’t know the exact proportion of contributions of society and biology, means that the harm of these unequal stereotypes can be minimized as much as possible.”

    I’ve seen this view of social construction that you espouse result in all sorts of status-quo patriarchy upholding oppression that I’m sure you are too privileged to have experienced. So fuck you, you self-righteous piece of oppressor-validating shit.

  183. 183
    PatrickG

    @FeministWhore:

    Given that LSP just went to a great deal of effort to illustrate the harm caused by biological determinism, I’m a bit startled by your response to his post.

    Could you provide some examples of how treating gender as a social construct has been used to reinforce oppression?

  184. 184
    LeftSidePositive

    @181: Firstly, FW, you’re derailing.

    Second, you’re committing a Guilt By Association Fallacy: because a principle has been misappropriated to bad ends does not mean the principle itself is bad (and moreover you have not actually described HOW this principle is supposed to oppress anyone? So am I supposed to take your word for it?!)

    Thirdly, you’re arguing the consequent. Just saying that the view of gender as social construction leads to harm (or so you claim without a shred of evidence!) does not invalidate the considerable evidence I provided regarding social construction existing, nor does it provide any evidence for biological essentialism.

    Fourthly, I said “IF” a behavior difference is harmful. I did not call for the absolute eradication of any and all gender differences just because. Learn to understand conditional statements.

    Fifthly, pointing out that gender is a social construct does not in any way mean that people cannot perform gender as they wish. If you have a desire to wear pink, frilly dresses or be submissive in the bedroom, go for it! I’m certainly not stopping you. But it’s your freedom of choice that allows you to do that, not a claim of biological determinism.

    Sixthly, we’re never going to be free of social constructs, because we’re social creatures. But we can be sure that social constructs give an opportunity to teach and encourage empowering and humanitarian attitudes and behaviors to EVERYONE. Any individual within that may gravitate to certain behaviors more than others, but the boy who wants to wear pink dresses or engage in domestic hobbies deserves just as much opportunity to try out those roles and find out they’re right for him (since there is actually no evidence that they’re more right for a girl than a boy).

  185. 185
    Forbidden Snowflake

    PatrickG, I think LSP is a woman.

  186. 186
    PatrickG

    LSP, I must point out that, per your numbering scheme, you should have written secondly. :)

    That said, had a very interesting time reading this comment thread. Thanks for a lot of food for thought and interesting links.

  187. 187
    PatrickG

    @ Forbidden Snowflake:

    And well, fuck me. I usually go out of my way to avoid using any gendered terms at all, but that one slipped by me.

    Sorry.

  188. 188
    LeftSidePositive

    Patrick, I appreciate your overall sentiments, but

    I’m a bit startled by your response to his post.

    WHAT?!?!?!? I think you mean HER post! I think I’m generally fairly open about being female? And if you don’t know someone’s gender, the polite thing to do is use a gender-neutral term like “zir” (or if you’re really down on new words, I suppose you could go with the gramatically-atrocious “their,” which I must confess I do in real life sometimes). But either way, the assumption that the default is male is a harmful one, and it can be very insidious.

    Just a friendly heads-up.

  189. 189
    LeftSidePositive

    Patrick, yes, you’re right about “secondly” ;). I claim a defense of bewilderment in the face of incoherent “difference feminism” and bizzaro-world definitions of oppression.

    And I was typing my reply before I realized you’d apologized for the error, so I didn’t mean to pile on.

  190. 190
    PatrickG

    No worries about piling on, LSP, but thanks for caring. :)

    But yeah, sorry again. Using masculine pronouns as a default is a really annoying linguistic quirk of privilege that I can’t quite seem to eradicate fully (as evidenced above). The really bizarre thing is that I knew you were female*, and yet somehow the pronoun came out anyway. Yeesh.

    Sometimes I use the xe/ze constructs, but I find them unaesthetic personally, so … meh. Anyway, I’ll toddle off for now, since I really don’t have much to say. :)

    * or at least, had publicly identified as such. This is the internet; for all I know, you’re really Dick Cheney’s not-evil twin.

  191. 191
    Pteryxx

    Re this:

    @FeministWhore:

    Given that LSP just went to a great deal of effort to illustrate the harm caused by biological determinism, I’m a bit startled by your response to his post.

    Could you provide some examples of how treating gender as a social construct has been used to reinforce oppression?

    I realize I’m not the one you asked, nor am I very familiar with these arguments yet, but for example: treating gender as *purely* a social construct can be used to justify, say, claiming gayness or trans identity is just a choice and can be altered by forced re-education.

    While having a gender identity probably is innate, expressing that identity is almost entirely via arbitrary social construction.

    This is getting well past 101-level gender discussion though so take my rookie guess with a touch of salt.

  192. 192
    PatrickG

    @ Pteryxx

    This is getting well past 101-level gender discussion though so take my rookie guess with a touch of salt.

    Mmmhmm. That’s more or less along the lines of what I was thinking (sexual identity as choice, in particular), but it’s an area which I’m not tremendously familiar with. FW clearly felt very strongly about it, which makes me think there’s more I could learn. If you’re up for it, FW… though perhaps the conversation should be moved elsewhere.

  193. 193
    xxxild

    Oh hai LeftSidePositive

    You wrote:

    “Firstly, FW, you’re derailing.

    Second, you’re committing a Guilt By Association Fallacy: because a principle has been misappropriated to bad ends does not mean the principle itself is bad (and moreover you have not actually described HOW this principle is supposed to oppress anyone? So am I supposed to take your word for it?!”

    How about I ignore your response and instead say

    by all means go back to your important flame war. FeministWhore posted something right around #165 should’ve made you stop dead still in your tracks and refocus. You might ask, “How did this happen?”

    (It takes working class people with NO academic credentials to know you’re full of horse shit, just so you know.)

    Or you can check your damn privilege when talking to someone who’s been on the opposite end of BAD POLICY your ideology helped create.

    Either way.

  194. 194
    LeftSidePositive

    FeministWhore posted an article that had no bearing to the matter at hand and didn’t even make an argument as to why it was relevant or what point she thought it made. I read ten pages and didn’t have a clue how it was relevant to this discussion. She didn’t make clear whether she thought the “gender feminists” were the abolitionists or the sex-positive advocates (especially since they could BOTH be considered “gender feminists” under CHS’s definition). She didn’t articulate what she thinks is our connection in A+ to any of the philosophies described in the paper. In short, it was a complete flail.

    By the way, what do you think my ideology is? To which specific bad policies are you objecting? What makes you think my ideology supports the bad policies to which you are objecting?

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if you, xxxild, are a sock puppet, since you and FeministWhore have an eerily similar pattern of obtuse posting.

    I’m sorry that everyone didn’t drop everything to focus on your particular issue. People are allowed to care about more than one thing, you know. If you have issues related to sex work and social justice that you think are important, why don’t you post about it on the atheist+ forum, and make your best arguments and start discussion about activism you think is important?

    Or, you know, you and the marijuana legalization guy from above can just get together and kvetch about how OUTRAGED you are that we don’t already discuss your issues in exactly the way you want?

  195. 195
    xxxild

    Dear LeftSidePositive,

    I don’t care if you think I’m a sock puppet or obtuse, or anything else for that matter. I wouldn’t bring my social justice issues anywhere near your forum or to your movement which is nothing more than FEMINISM-plus. FeministWhore did that; I’m extremely privileged to have learned much from her over the past couple years, and a friend. I’ve learned enough to assess when people have built up an echo-chamber and that, when they do, there’s no point trying to reach them.

    You’re a smart person, read the document she posted or ignore her, as I suggested. I’m here on her behalf since, I believe she gave y’all a chance and you blew it. Congratulations!

  196. 196
    Stephanie Zvan

    xxxild, a chance to do what? I haven’t got any more clue what the point of that pdf was than LeftSidePositive does. I have no idea what either of you think my position is on the topic or why.

  197. 197
    Ace of Sevens

    FeminstWhore and xxxild are definitely separate people, though they do know each other.

  198. 198
    PatrickG

    @xxxild and FeministWhore:

    I’m not quite sure what the context of the discussion is. There’s an element to the comments here that feels very over my head. Is it history between parties? Is it my lack of understanding of feminist theory history?

    I’m interpreting xxxild’s comments as being censorious of some feminists’ opinions on sex work and socially constructed gender, based on the pdf that FW linked to and xxxild’s comments. I found the pdf a really interesting read, but I’m simply not getting the connection to A+. At least, I’m not seeing it outside of LSP’s hostility in this thread* being an issue**, which apparently pushed a button. I think? I really don’t know.

    Apparently I’m missing something (several things!), and in general I find that when I’m missing something I have an opportunity to learn. Could I ask to not be counted as someone who “blew it” and get more information?

    * No slur intended to LSP, as some of the posters above were rather deserving of hostility! If there was an exchange between LSP and FW specifically, I may have missed it, and I’m a bit tired so I don’t feel like searching.

    ** On a humorous note, I truly hope you have a key that types ‘fuck’ for you, LSP! Carpal tunnel is no joke. No tone trolling intended, just trying to poke some harmless fun. :)

  199. 199
    LeftSidePositive

    Is it history between parties?

    Nope. I, like Stephanie, am completely baffled, and have absolutely no idea who these people are or why they’re here (or why the paper is relevant??).

    And my questions in my above post weren’t rhetorical–I really have no idea what they think our stance is, or what their specific issues are, or what they even mean by oppression or ANYTHING.

    My face is just this :-| of blank and befuddled bewilderment.

    Anyway, If you want to see some really fine swearing, check here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2012/05/27/mass-hysteria/

    It’s the comment thread that made “Fuckskreig” a household name!

    And, interestingly, it also goes into a great deal about being skeptical of claims of gender difference, too… (and ooooh boy, did we ever have some hyper-dense trolls!)

  200. 200
    PatrickG

    Firstly, thanks for clearing up one of my questions, LSP. I’m pretty new to the online scene, and the history is sometimes confusing. Obviously, I don’t expect people to ‘drop history’ for noobs like me, but I always appreciate it when someone chimes in with background (or lack of background, here) on request.

    Secondly (ha!), I really came to appreciate my lack of background in the online community when wandering through the playground that has been the debut of A+. Aside from viewpoints like Richard Carrier’s, for the most part it’s just been a lovefest of ‘hey, we care about things, let’s make stuff happen’. And yet… the blowback has just been amazing. Quite the learning experience for me. I thought I was cynical, but clearly I have a long way to go, because the reaction just doesn’t. make. sense.

    Thirdly, I’ll bookmark that epic swearing link for later… 323 comments is a bit much to wade into right before going to bed. But Fuckskreig… I’ll definitely go check it out!

    Not much of substance here, just me sort of pontificating about personal crap, so that’s definitely a sign that it’s time to go to bed. Before I do so, I would like to say that recent events have definitely convinced me to participate in whatever small way I can, because apathy isn’t really an option anymore.

    That said, for FW and xxxild, I’d very much appreciate hearing more about your viewpoints. As I said above, I’m new, I’m learning, and I really like honest dissent/debate, since that’s where the arguments really crystallize. I’m not sure what your argument is based on your short posts, and if you consider it worthwhile… well, that’s your call.

  201. 201
    xxxild

    Patrick, it’s too soon. I’m hoping she sticks with the group and they listen to her. I see a lot of investment in Feminist theory and I’m not well educated in them. To say what I want to say, right now, would be like trying to pull a cult member out of a bunker. And I’m tired after two years of fighting with rad fems on Youtube.

    And anyway, I’m a detractor. I wouldn’t be part of a group that is feminist-run and not inclusive of men’s rights.

  202. 202
    PatrickG

    @xxxild:

    I will abandon my pledge of going to bed to fire this off really quickly….

    As a straight white male aged 18-35, I am inarguably the Most Important Person in the World. However, even in my situation, my hackles rise with I see Men’s Rights mentioned.

    I want to be clear: I think the rights of men are very important. I think our society is really fucked up when it comes to a number of issues, including child support and custody battles. The expectations and demands made upon everyone lead to some truly spectacularly bad shit. Does bad shit happen to men? Of course! But it should be indisputable that most of the bad shit happens to women.

    The feminists I admire (and I identify as a feminist, btw) not only acknowledge this but make it an action item. To be clear, some of those feminists are posting here at FTB. I wholeheartedly support the efforts of people here to effect change in a positive way that benefits both genders, not to mention people who don’t fit the binary gender definition.

    If I’ve misread you with regards to Men’s Rights, do let me know, but that phrase does have some rather negative connotations for me. That might be an irreconcilable difference between us. It might not be, though, and I hope you’ll let me know.

  203. 203
    PatrickG

    I’ll also add that anybody who debates on YouTube needs to reevaluate their choice of battle locations. ;)

  204. 204
    LeftSidePositive

    xxxild–so you’re going to rail at our supposed injustices, and then not even bother to tell us why you’re upset? How on earth is that productive?!

    To say what I want to say, right now, would be like trying to pull a cult member out of a bunker.

    But you don’t even know anything about what we believe about the topics on which you’re posting. We can’t even tell what issues you’re mad about. You might be furious at us for policies we don’t even support. We are not trying to be defensive here: we sincerely have NO IDEA what you’re talking about. None. Three of us have expressed our total confusion. I think at this point the problem is that you are simply not communicating.

    Now, if you don’t want to communicate with us, fine–don’t. But why storm in here and heckle us and then refuse to communicate?!

  205. 205
    FeministWhore

    Stephanie Zvan said @195:

    “xxxild, a chance to do what? I haven’t got any more clue what the point of that pdf was than LeftSidePositive does. I have no idea what either of you think my position is on the topic or why.”

    ————————

    K. Well basically…

    It doesn’t seem like you’ve actually stated a ‘position’ other than “prove the opposite of the thing you accuse me of being is truer or better than the thing you accuse me of being but remember I’m not that thing you accuse me of being” which seems a little convoluted to me… but…

    … but it seems like you’ve made an assumption that there is no merit to any objections to ‘gender feminism’ without actually reading the material or understanding what it means.

    You don’t seem to know that the person credited with the legal theory at work in ‘gender feminism’ is Catharine MacKinnon who is also credited with developing the legal theory (same theory) that has led to the situation outlined in the pdf I linked earlier – the one about all the women possibly dying of AIDS because of the feminist supported Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath…

    So when I see you here, offering what to me seems like a bit of a weasely defense of ‘gender feminism’ while also disclaiming the label, also while you and those in your comment section seem angrily unwilling to educate yourselves – well it just comes off as more than a little privileged and oppressive to me.

    And I guess part of the reason I’m so irritated is because not long before I left my original comment here, I said the following in this thread ( http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=307 ) on the A+ forum:

    ————

    When people “decry those radical feminists” they actually ARE stating a specific issue they have with feminism. The problem is that people don’t take seriously the criticisms of radical feminism, and that refusal to take it seriously is an issue itself. People assume it is a strawman. Why do they assume this? Privilege is my guess. Most of the time I see people claiming “that’s not MY feminism!”, or they will characterize ‘radical feminism’ as being some historical second wave thing that only people who don’t really ‘get’ feminism would complain about. The truth is that radical feminist theory and concepts are used by governments around the world to justify crappy policy that denies women their human rights.

    People might say that it is not their responsibility if governments use radfem theory as justification, at least that’s what I hear when people say “that’s not MY feminism”, but silence is acquiescence and the rights you acquiesce are not your own to sacrifice. If ‘mainstream feminism’ listened, learned, and then spoke out against these policies we might be able to actually change a thing or two. But people don’t listen, and so then they can’t learn, and if they are ignorant they will not speak out.

    I think people are afraid y’all aren’t willing to listen.

    ——————

    and then here you are, imo weasel-defending the very things I was mentioning and doing your part to make sure nobody is actually LEARNING anything at all about these feminist theories, or there effect on social justice issues.

    And I apologize for my tone.

  206. 206
    FeministWhore

    And I’m already pretty sure that most of y’all DON’T support things like the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath but that doesn’t matter much if you’re (even unintentionally) helping to legitimize the very theories which lead to it, and are used to justify it.

  207. 207
    LeftSidePositive

    And I’m already pretty sure that most of y’all DON’T support things like the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath but that doesn’t matter much if you’re (even unintentionally) helping to legitimize the very theories which lead to it, and are used to justify it.

    And belief in evolution led to eugenics which led to HITLER!!!!!

    Seriously, you are going to have to flesh out why you think our simple statement that gender is socially constructed until proven otherwise legitimizes the idea that prostitution should be illegal, because that is one *massive* non-sequitur!

    And were we really supposed to figure all those tangential connections just from you linking a study?! HOW???

    And I am EXTREMELY unconvinced that governments are using radfem theories in legislation. Is lesbian marriage federally protected now and I somehow missed it?! Did it ever occur to you that governments might have OTHER reasons, beside radfem theory, to be hostile to sex work? Patriarchal attitudes criminalizing sex and sex work have been around for A LOT longer than radical feminism. Maybe, just maybe, the more likely cause of legislation is a deeply sex-negative puritanical streak in our culture that wants to police women’s sexuality, and has for centuries!? Maybe the problem is we have a government who will listen to feminists only insofar as they will throw sex workers under the bus–but the impulse to throw sex workers (and, frankly, the vast majority of women) under the bus has been there from day 1.

  208. 208
    FeministWhore

    And also: I think the biggest problem with the whole damn thing is that many people confuse criticisms of feminist solutions with denials of there being a problem.

  209. 209
    FeministWhore

    LeftSidePositive said:

    “And I am EXTREMELY unconvinced that governments are using radfem theories in legislation. Is lesbian marriage federally protected now and I somehow missed it?! Did it ever occur to you that governments might have OTHER reasons, beside radfem theory, to be hostile to sex work? Patriarchal attitudes criminalizing sex and sex work have been around for A LOT longer than radical feminism. Maybe, just maybe, the more likely cause of legislation is a deeply sex-negative puritanical streak in our culture that wants to police women’s sexuality, and has for centuries!? Maybe the problem is we have a government who will listen to feminists only insofar as they will throw sex workers under the bus–but the impulse to throw sex workers (and, frankly, the vast majority of women) under the bus has been there from day 1.”

    No shit this is why I used the word JUSTIFIED! This is WHY I phrased it so carefully, governments are using the theories to JUSTIFY! crappy policy. Because governments are part of the fucking patriarchy and they will use whatever they can to JUSTIFY oppression.

    That they use these theories to JUSTIFY oppression does not JUSTIFY your bullshit.

  210. 210
    LeftSidePositive

    You don’t seem to know that the person credited with the legal theory at work in ‘gender feminism’ is Catharine MacKinnon

    Nope, sorry–WRONG.

    I did a simple google search for “Catherine MacKinnon gender feminism” and found this interview from PBS:

    http://www.pbs.org/thinktank/transcript215.html

    MR. WATTENBERG: How do you come down on this sort of dichotomy ofequity feminists versus gender feminists?

    MS. MacKINNON: I don’t think I understand the distinction.

    MR. WATTENBERG: Okay, let — let me see if I can explain it to you. The equity feminists are saying, whatever isn’t fair in life for women — if women are kept out of certain jobs because they are women or can’t get into school because they are women, et cetera, etcetera, the whole general women’s liberation movement.

    MS. MacKINNON: Or, for example, do even better in school than men in spite of the fact that they are treated differentially to their detriment.

    MR. WATTENBERG: Okay, fine, but that that’s what they are interested in, that everyone –that women get a fair shot at what’s going on.

    The gender feminists, as — at least as some of the equity feminists — as Christina Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia described it on this program, the gender feminists are saying, in a sense, that men are the enemy, that men are at fault for subjugating women, and that the gender feminists say there is an ongoing war between the sexes, that women have been losing it, and that’s the essence of the argument.

    MS. MacKINNON: It’s just a — it’s a phony distinction. I think it’s about the extent to which one wants to — if you want to subject yourself to abuse by actually saying who’s doing what to whom in the equity problem you point out, that actually, for the most part, men are treating women unequally and are benefiting from it. I guess that gets you called a gender feminist.

    So, remind me again how Catherine MacKinnon is responsible for “gender feminism”? Remind me again how saying that “gender feminism” makes no sense and describes every feminist from Mary Wollestonecroft to Andrea Dworkin apparently means we support “gender feminism” which apparently means we support Catherine MacKinnon which apparently means we are contributing to the marginalization of sex workers???

    WHAT?

  211. 211
    LeftSidePositive

    governments are using the theories to JUSTIFY! crappy policy.

  212. 212
    LeftSidePositive

    ack-hit submit weirdly! WTF?!

  213. 213
    LeftSidePositive

    This is WHY I phrased it so carefully, governments are using the theories to JUSTIFY! crappy policy. Because governments are part of the fucking patriarchy and they will use whatever they can to JUSTIFY oppression.

    But they don’t need to use radfem theory to justify their oppression. They already have patriarchal sex-negativity, and the actions of governments at large are vastly more predicted by assuming they are using the justifications of patriarchal sex-negativity than believing they are using the justifications of radical feminism.

    You have provided no evidence that radfem theory is a driving factor in social policy–you have only shown that there are some parts on the Venn Diagram where it overlaps with puritanism, and that’s the theory much more likely being followed.

    Just because a doctrine has a tenet that aligns with someone else’s actions does not mean the actor is using that doctrine as a justification.

    If you converted or silenced every radfem everywhere, it would not make one whit of difference to the actual theories our government uses to set social policy, which is Christian-based sex-negativity.

    That they use these theories to JUSTIFY oppression does not JUSTIFY your bullshit.

    What does this sentence even mean? To what theories do you refer? What bullshit are you attributing to me? How would anyone else’s stance on oppression have any bearing on my bullshit? This is so incoherent I don’t know where to start.

  214. 214
    FeministWhore

    Really, LSP, do you EVER check your privilege? I guess taking the time to do that would cut into your ‘prove em wrong’ research.

    I am done entertaining your demands to be educated. It’s clear that you are one of those ‘hyper-skeptics’ I keep hearing so much about.

  215. 215
    Dalillama

    FeministWhore,
    What the blistering fuck are you talking about? What privilege are you asserting that LSP has? (You do know she’s a woman, right?) What beliefs do you think that she holds that you have a problem with? What beliefs are you advocating? Why? What relevance do you think that the article you initially posted has to this discussion? You have answered none of these, merely attacked LSP out of the blue and for no readily apparent reason.

  216. 216
    LeftSidePositive

    I’m sorry, asking you to provide a coherent explanation of how you arrived at your conclusions is not an example of “privilege.” It is simply basic critical thinking and absolutely essential for any human beings to understand each other. It is a common expectation of everyone who posts on any topic. To use the term “privilege” in that way is blatantly irresponsible and undermines those who make valid social analyses using the term.

    I guess you’re sore that my “‘prove em wrong’ research” did, in fact, prove you wrong? Is it “privileged” of me to simply be factually correct?

    You don’t get to make claims about the world and expect them to be acquiesced to simply on your say-so, especially when they blatantly contradict available evidence. And simply asking what on earth your argument is, is not “hyper-skeptical”–it’s ELEMENTAL to productive human communication.

  217. 217
    A Lowly Apprentice

    LSP,

    Catharine MacKinnon
    http://web.law.umich.edu/_facultybiopage/facultybiopagenew.asp?id=219

    “Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and since 2008 has been the Special Gender Adviser to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (The Hague), implementing her concept “gender crime.” She practices and consults nationally and internationally. Studies document that Prof. MacKinnon is among the most widely-cited legal scholars in the English language.”

  218. 218
    LeftSidePositive

    @A Lowly Apprentice:

    “gender crime” =/= “gender feminism”

    Naming one concept with “gender” in the title does not make one automatically a proponent of every other philosophy that has gender in the title. Or are you going to claim she now must support gender essentialism, gender marketing, gender skepticism, gender existentialism, gender medicine, gender paganism, and gender normativity?

    “Gender crime” simply means crime committed on the basis of gender, as a subset of hate crimes: rape, assault, genital mutilation, etc.

  219. 219
    Jacques Cuze

    LSP, you should read the transcript you quote from:

    “Catharine MacKinnon is a professor of law at the University of Michigan. She has taught at Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Chicago. She has been at the forefront of sex equality issues, having helped develop the legal definitions of sexual harassment in America and in Canada. She is the author of several books, including ‘Toward a Feminist Theory of the State,”

    Then re-read it again.

    Then google http://www.google.com/search?q=catherine+mackinnon+influence+on+law

    Then read

    rationalwiki.org/wiki/Critical_legal_studies

    harvardhumanrights.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/this-wednesday-catharine-a-mackinnon-on-gender-as-a-new-paradigm-in-creating-international-law/

    LSP, you are ignorant, and you are abusive.

    You rail and curse others from your position of privilege and you are an abusive, violent, bully.

    Stephanie, you should not enable this sort of abuse and this stifling of dialogue in your comment section.

    If you want to complain this is a tone argument, that is fine. LSP’s tone is beyond the pale and no one should ever have to accept her constant, unwarranted, ignorant, bad faith attacks.

    Stephanie, please provide one reason my comment should not be let out of moderation.

  220. 220
    A Lowly Apprentice

    Who supports the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath?

  221. 221
    xxxild

    Since you’re EXTREMELY unconvinced and not just unconvinced:

    This is from Bedford v Canada, Ontario Superior Court.

    http://xxxild.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/canadaiamcurious.jpg

    A complete anomaly I tell you!

    Just like that Anti Prostitution Pledge, as I watched the language change from year to year, almost miraculously looking like “gender feminists” crafted it, until it became ridiculously obvious. I bid you good day, Madam.

  222. 222
    A Lowly Apprentice

    217 – LeftSidePositive

    No, her bio is indication of MacKinnon’s influence.

    I’m amazed how you manage to craft so many questions from my quote, sans commentary, of MacKinnon’s bio. All I did was quote the bio.

    Do you support the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath?

  223. 223
    ‽‽‽ ‽‽ ‽

    It’s actually widely recognized, and kudos to Ms. MacKinnon, that current legal theory as expressed in law school, in current law and expressed in Congress is based on her legal theories and her advocacy.

    http://harvardhumanrights.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/this-wednesday-catharine-a-mackinnon-on-gender-as-a-new-paradigm-in-creating-international-law/

    This Wednesday: Catharine A. MacKinnon on Gender as a New Paradigm in Creating International Law

    Posted on October 17, 2011

    Last year in my First Amendment class, Noah Feldman said there were two people who were the most influential law professors of the twentieth-century. The guessing game went around the classroom about the second (Professor Feldman says it’s Richard Posner), but multiple hands went in the air almost immediately to guess the first: Catharine MacKinnon.

    To say that she’s a legend is to sound like a gushing fan. But even those who disagree with her views recognize that without Catharine MacKinnon, sex equality law just wouldn’t be where it is today. Professor MacKinnon virtually created the legal framework to recognize behavior previously considered normal workplace antics as sexual harassment. She has forever changed how we think about pornography. And from Bosnia to India, she has devoted her energy to human rights work over the past decades.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Critical_legal_studies

    CLS’s biggest splashes

    Critical legal studies reached the peak of its popularity in the 1980s. Its influence was largely confined to the ivory tower; however, mostly due to the efforts of CLS practitioner Catharine MacKinnon, a radical feminist law professor and friend of Andrea Dworkin, many of its ideas found their way into the real world and currently have some influence in the area of sexual harassment law.
    [edit]
    Antipornography Civil Rights Ordinance

    MacKinnon legally formulated the Antipornography Civil Rights Ordinance thought up by Dworkin. This ordinance was formed on the premise that pornography (defined in an unorthodox fashion as “media in which women are subordinated in a sexually explicit fashion, by pictures and/or words”) is a manifestation of men’s patriarchal power over women, and that the law left women powerless in that they were unable to sue anyone who made pornography for gender discrimination. The ordinance aimed to give this power to women at any cost.

    The ordinance, which threatened to make publishers liable for publishing anything from Hustler to the Iliad, apparently[1] violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, on the grounds of both ideological censorship and of failing to apply the Miller test for obscenity. MacKinnon tried to dodge this minor detail in court by claiming that the First Amendment needed to be “reinterpreted” to accommodate the ordinance, mainly by scrapping the Miller test. After much protest from liberals (the prospect of suing the socks off Larry Flynt had right-wingers wetting their pants too much to smart off about political correctness in this instance), she was told, from the federal bench, exactly where she could shove her legal reasoning.

    In other words, her efforts failed while following due process.
    [edit]
    Hostile environment

    MacKinnon also wrote a widely cited legal book, Sexual Harassment of Working Women, which was the impetus behind the (more successful) formulation of “hostile environment sexual harassment,” or the idea that if a woman person feels uncomfortable at work, and if she can find a way to blame this discomfort on something remotely to do with sex, and if she can prove that this discomfort is “reasonable”, the company which employs her is guilty and must pay her (and her lawyers) large amounts of money. This was, again, based on the premise that the law left women powerless unless they were empowered by the right to bring such lawsuits. (Which, in a sense, it did, given that existing “quid pro quo” harassment suits only granted women protection from the actions and policies of their superiors and did not give them an easy legal avenue to fight discrimination on the part of their peers and coworkers.)

    Note that no law was ever passed forbidding such “harassment;” Catharine MacKinnon and related lawyers essentially wrote the policy on their own, using Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as justification, and the Supreme Court then brought the proscription into being.

    In other words, her efforts succeeded while following due process.

  224. 224
    LeftSidePositive

    @A Lowly Apprentice

    But how does MacKinnon have ANYTHING to do with what we’re arguing here? What was the rationale for insisting that we must be supporting her theories and political activism? How is it even relevant to the spurious attributions of “gender feminism” being made here?

    And all you did was quote the bio IN THE CONTEXT of claims that MacKinnon’s work was the foundation of “gender feminism”–that is literally her sole reason for being a topic on this thread, so of course I questioned the relevance of your post to that context, because that is why she’s being discussed here.

    And no, of course I think the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath is absolutely reprehensible. I support comprehensive sexual health services to all without moral judgment, and I am opposed to legal sanction against the behavior of consenting adults.

  225. 225
    A Lowly Apprentice

    221 – LeftSidePositive

    So, I quoted MacKinnon’s bio. The ??????? strange user also provided evidence of MacKinnon’s influence.

    What evidence do you have of puritanism’s influence in modern social policy?

  226. 226
    A Lowly Apprentice

    221 – LeftSidePositive

    Lemme try posting again. *sigh

    “You have provided no evidence that radfem theory is a driving factor in social policy–you have only shown that there are some parts on the Venn Diagram where it overlaps with puritanism, and that’s the theory much more likely being followed.”

    So, I quoted MacKinnon’s bio. The ??????? strange user also provided evidence of MacKinnon’s influence.

    What evidence do you have of puritanism’s influence in modern social policy?

  227. 227
    FeministWhore

    #214 asked:

    “What the blistering fuck are you talking about?”

    → Well, I’m talking about feminist legal theory, the sort that Hoff Sommers talks about in her stuffs.

    “What privilege are you asserting that LSP has? (You do know she’s a woman, right?)”

    → Yes, I know she’s a woman. Do you know I’m a sex worker? Do you understand that I’m here trying to get you to understand one of the elements of oppression when it comes to the social justice issues that most matter to me?

    “What beliefs do you think that she holds that you have a problem with?”

    → She previously stated:

    “Saying a difference is biological is an argument to just leave the status quo alone, and that continues to harm people. Treating a gender difference as though it were a social construct, even though we don’t know the exact proportion of contributions of society and biology, means that the harm of these unequal stereotypes can be minimized as much as possible.”

    And I have a problem with that because biological arguments of difference have done MUCH to fuck up the status quo, they don’t always leave the status quo alone and treating difference as though it were a social construct can also be used to oppress people. I offered that pdf as a way to get you folks started on learning about some of the consequences of those theories. Yes, I know there is a bit of a learning curve, but it’s not as though this feels like a safe environment for me to try to argue my stance. Most people here are already assuming any anti-gender-feminist arguments are coming from trolls. I mean, aren’t you assuming that? And please don’t use the fucking tone argument on me and say I was ‘too angry’ so you had to assume I was a troll, ok?

    “What beliefs are you advocating? Why?”

    → I’m advocating beliefs of social justice, skepticism, women’s rights, trans rights, yes even men’s rights (cuz some of em are sex workers) I am advocating sex workers rights. Because I am a sex worker, and sex workers rights are human rights.

    “What relevance do you think that the article you initially posted has to this discussion?”

    → The relevance won’t really be clear unless someone has also read Hoff Sommers’ book, the book whose theories and categories this thread is the topic of. But the relevance is that gender feminist solutions to inequality particularly around sexual rights issues recreate oppressive situations and can keep women in danger, this is why they are so readily accepted by governments around the world. I was offering some evidence of this.

    “You have answered none of these, merely attacked LSP out of the blue and for no readily apparent reason.”

    → I hope you’re satisfied with my clarifications.

  228. 228
    FeministWhore

    Oh I forgot this part :P

    Well, it seems that if we’re talking about categories developed by Hoff Sommers, categories which btw I don’t actually think are helpful, shouldn’t we be using her definitions? This is why it will be helpful if you have read the book where she talks about these things. If you don’t understand these categories then why are you debating them? Why do you keep offering sources with definitions from everywhere else but Hoff Sommers?

    Catharine MacKinnon of course wouldn’t self identify as a ‘gender feminist’ because the entire category was created by Hoff Sommers, and it’s quite derisive in tone. In the book she does repeatedly refer to MacKinnon, here’s a couple applicable quotes:

    “MacKinnon, and Sandra Harding, whose views of patriarchal knowledge and science have quickly become central gender feminist doctrine.”

    “The radical feminist legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon,”

    Even Hoff Sommers identifies MacKinnon as a ‘radical feminist’ and not a ‘gender feminist’. Geez, at one point she calls her a ‘resenter feminist’ which I think is a bit uncalled for…

    Anyway, that’s it for me. Sorry to have hassled you all.

  229. 229
    skeptifem

    Catharine MacKinnon of course wouldn’t self identify as a ‘gender feminist’ because the entire category was created by Hoff Sommers, and it’s quite derisive in tone. In the book she does repeatedly refer to MacKinnon, here’s a couple applicable quotes:

    You could provide the original material that lead them to label Mackinnon in the first place (or just a tiny hint of it somewhere).

  230. 230
    Stephanie Zvan

    … but it seems like you’ve made an assumption that there is no merit to any objections to ‘gender feminism’ without actually reading the material or understanding what it means.

    Ah, I see the confusion. No, that’s not what’s going on here.

    There is a group of people who have banded together to oppose atheists who are saying that atheism will grow better and be a stronger movement if it also represents the atheism of people who aren’t white, male academics. They have declared, unilaterally, that this is a difference between “equity feminists” and “gender feminists”. Since they’ve claimed to be “equity feminists” (which most of them started calling themselves because they didn’t like the label “anti-feminist”), that, by whatever weird logic they’re using, somehow makes us “gender feminists”. According to them, there have only ever been two types of feminists, or something.

    Except, of course, we’re not anything of the sort. Most of the people commenting around Atheism+ who focus on feminism are somewhere beyond third-wave feminism, with their own intersectional interests. The reaction to criticizing people who are largely second-wave feminists isn’t “This criticism has no merit” but “But why are you saying this as though you’re arguing with me?”

    That was my reaction to your pdf study. I hadn’t seen the results, but they’re exactly what I would expect. As far as my position on sex work goes, I haven’t ever seen evidence to demonstrate that making it illegal does anything to fix the problems associated with it.

  231. 231
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    So, Feminist Whore, you essentially derailed this whole thread because we don’t yell enough at 2nd wave sex-negative feminists?
    Tell you what I’m fed up with that. Take it to the people who are actually advocating those positions.
    Or you actually have any evidence that the “equity feminist” position is based on real world data.

  232. 232
    LeftSidePositive

    What evidence do you have of puritanism’s influence in modern social policy?

    The entire platform of the Republican party. QED.

  233. 233
    Ace of Sevens

    To answer what LSP said, radical feminist theory is not a major factor in US laws (barring the occasional alliance with fundies), but they are more influential elsewhere, so I can see why someone would be afraid of their ideas getting to much traction. I do think there’s a baby/bathwater issue going on here. To make an analogy, it sounds like telling people teaching evolution to be careful lest they lend support to eugenists.

  234. 234
    LeftSidePositive

    This is from Bedford v Canada, Ontario Superior Court.

    http://xxxild.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/canadaiamcurious.jpg

    A complete anomaly I tell you!

    No one is denying that anti-prostitution feminists exist. The question is why on earth do you think they’re relevant HERE?!

    Just like that Anti Prostitution Pledge, as I watched the language change from year to year, almost miraculously looking like “gender feminists” crafted it, until it became ridiculously obvious.

    What is a “gender feminist”? What do you mean when you use that term? What reason do you think we are “gender feminists”? Why do you think that stating gender is most likely socially constructed has any bearing on prostitution law?

  235. 235
    LeftSidePositive

    To make an analogy, it sounds like telling people teaching evolution to be careful lest they lend support to eugenists.

    Way ahead of you there:

    And belief in evolution led to eugenics which led to HITLER!!!!!

  236. 236
    skeptifem

    As far as my position on sex work goes, I haven’t ever seen evidence to demonstrate that making it illegal does anything to fix the problems associated with it.

    I’ve read a lot of feminist literature criticizing sex work, and the feminists I’ve read have never advocated criminalizing sex workers. They have advocated criminalizing pimps and johns. The alternative (complete legalization) means turning over an already exploitative industry to private business interests. THAT is the crux of the disagreement on policy, even now.

    @231
    second wave sex negative feminists? No one is sex negative. Anyway, her problem is probably with feminists like me who know that the vast majority of women in prostitution want out and cannot leave. That was the disagreement here on FTB between taslima and greta, after all.

  237. 237
    LeftSidePositive

    @FeministWhore, #227:

    Just to clarify where we are so far:

    treating difference as though it were a social construct can also be used to oppress people.

    You have never made a single argument that even approaches why this might be true. You have not even provided your reasoning for thinking it is true, let alone any evidence.

    I offered that pdf as a way to get you folks started on learning about some of the consequences of those theories.

    The PDF says absolutely nothing about the use of gender as a social construct. At least two of us have read it and found NOTHING. If there’s some really insightful quote, why don’t you pull it out to get our attention when you posted the PDF?

    Just to be sure, I went back and searched the pdf: “construct” appears absolutely nowhere. “Social” appears exactly 3 times and never in the context of gender, but rather referring to social services. “Gender” appears 43 times, the vast majority of which are simply each page being titled “Harvard Journal of Health and Gender” and references that have “Gender” in their title or in organization names. The article makes NO claims about the origin of gender AT ALL, and never refers to anyone making any claims about the origin of gender. It says absolutely NOTHING about the topic under discussion, and establishes NO causal chain or even suggestion about the consequences of “those theories” which we are actually talking about.

  238. 238
    smhll

    No one is denying that anti-prostitution feminists exist. The question is why on earth do you think they’re relevant HERE?!

    We might need a Venn diagram showing what overlaps and what doesn’t.

    Looks like this has been figured out, but I think the upthread talk about privilege was about class privilege and education privilege.

    treating difference as though it were a social construct can also be used to oppress people.

    I think, when I first read this, I guessed that it meant the problematic attitude that old school feminists and “radfems” have with trans people. The feminist stuff I read regularly isn’t “rad”, so I had very poor awareness of it until someone linked to the article about the women’s music festival in Michigan that only allows cis-women to attend. I thought the particular blog post I read (which might have been written by a trauma victim) really demonized men and trans women and anyone tall and broad shouldered who might be “intimidating”. I think policies that exclude trans people are very wrong. I’m pretty confident that A+ in general rejects any discrimination against trans people or gender fluid people.

  239. 239
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    skeptifem

    second wave sex negative feminists? No one is sex negative.

    I would qualify some radfems who actually do state that heterosexual sex is always an act of opression as sex negative. I’d say they’re mostly not here

  240. 240
    Jacques Cuze

    To answer what LSP said, radical feminist theory is not a major factor in US laws (barring the occasional alliance with fundies), but they are more influential elsewhere, so I can see why someone would be afraid of their ideas getting to much traction. I do think there’s a baby/bathwater issue going on here. To make an analogy, it sounds like telling people teaching evolution to be careful lest they lend support to eugenists.

    Strictly speaking, this is absolutely false.

    Catherine MacKinnon is a radical feminist. http://i.imgur.com/pxxtl.jpg

    Catherine MacKinnon is widely credited as being one the most influential law professors of the twentieth-century.

    Much of law today dealing with pornography to sexual harassment to hostile environments flows from Catherine MacKinnon’s theories.

  241. 241
    smhll

    It seems very likely that the majority of MacKinnon’s impact is in this area, which Wikipedia emphasizes over her porn work. She was the groundbreaker in defining workplace sexual harasssment, and that area has likely had much more litigation than porn cases, as more individuals are motivated to start lawsuits on this topic.

    I doubt that her work on porn is wildly influential.

    Citation from wikipedia:

    In her book, MacKinnon argued that sexual harassment is sex discrimination because the act reinforces the social inequality of women to men (see, for example, pp. 116–18, 174). She distinguishes between two types of sexual harassment (see pp. 32–42): 1) “quid pro quo,” meaning sexual harassment “in which sexual compliance is exchanged, or proposed to be exchanged, for an employment opportunity (p. 32)” and 2) the type of harassment that “arises when sexual harassment is a persistent condition of work (p. 32).” In 1980, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission followed MacKinnon’s framework in adopting guidelines prohibiting sexual harassment by prohibiting both quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment (see 29 C.F.R. § 1604.11(a)).

  242. 242
    XinXin

    @236 Skeptifem

    You make an excellent point. I’m sad to see that this thread has derailed into the ‘oh the radfems are going to ruin our lives’!

    I am one of those oh so pesky radfems that understand the social constructivist model and how it hurts women. (I was taught pink was my colour or what I call the Female Religion of Pink).

    I agree with you that the johns and pimps should be criminalized. The demand fosters sex trafficking amongst other things.

    I was told I was only good for my body, my looks, how I could pleasure a man. I was taught I had a honey pot between my legs that I could sell to make money.

    I went through a period of being extremely poor and was left to the honey pot our culture told me I could sell. So I did.

    So I did.

    I wonder how many women and girls suffer the same fate as I did? I wonder if teaching women they have a honey pot to sell is a wise thing?

    I’d much rather see women lining the panels of conferences, not the streets.

  1. 243
    The Petition to Ask Freethought Blogs and Skepchick to “Return to Critical Thinking” » Lousy Canuck

    [...] that ideology. That the people most opposed to my ideology are completely unwilling or unable to provide any such research suggests to me further that I have little to worry about with regard to being unduly resistant to [...]

  2. 244
    The Role of Feminism in Secular Organizations » Almost Diamonds

    [...] That term only exists in contrast to “equity feminism”, which claims that we should (as a philosophical rather than empirical matter) only consider gender inequalities that are caused directly by the law. I don’t see any good [...]

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