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May 19 2013

An Alternate Universe

Rebecca Watson inhabits an alternate universe.

That’s how Ron Lindsay, CEO of Center for Inquiry, who is attending his organization’s own Women in Secularism conference, opened a blog post last night. That blog post is noteworthy mostly for missing the point and much of the text of the post it’s responding to. However, that is obvious enough that it’s already been pointed out in the comments and probably will be repeatedly noted in other blog posts across the ‘net. I don’t care much for pointing out the obvious, but there is one thing about this post I would like to address.

I agree with Ron Lindsay about this statement. Rebecca does live in an alternate universe. So do I.

You see, she and I live in a universe in which, if the organizations were hosting conferences where 300 people had paid money for the experience we had advertised, we would never, ever be allowed to get away with opening that conference with a speech like this one. If we were given (or took) that responsibility and used that to, as I put it yesterday on a panel, say, “Your work and your concerns are good, they’re important, but for the love of humanity, don’t take it too far“, we would never be allowed to step on another stage.

In the universe where we live, if Rebecca or I had used an opportunity like that to lecture a demographic about a statement made by people who aren’t even in that demographic, only one of whom was even in the audience, everybody would step up to talk about how off topic we were. If a few people did step up to tell us how wonderful this hijacking was, we would have to be very politically aware of who those people were and what kind of baggage they carried with them. We wouldn’t be able to be comfortable with mere affirmation because every endorsement we receive colors our reputations. We are always under pressure to–in that very Victorian phrase–keep our sphere of influence pure.

In our universe, we certainly wouldn’t be able to pull out such weak examples of a phenomenon we considered important enough to devote prominent words to. If we used the example of someone talking about tactics for learning as an example of “silencing”, we’d be laughed out of the room. If we used an example that was telling us shutting up and listening isn’t easy but is worthwhile as an example of a demand, people would stop listening to us. Even when we disagree with someone’s premise, we come up with better examples of it than that (and maintain plenty of examples of the effective sort of silencing). We have to, because in our universe, our credibility is always on the line.

In this universe, we don’t get to write a letter talking about reaching out privately, then tweet something like this the day before a conference starts without having reached out to any of the speakers ahead of time:

Preparing my questions for my opening talk at #wiscfi Yes, I will have several questions that I hope will be addressed during the conf
@RALindsay
Ronald A. Lindsay

We don’t just get to stand up at the last minute and expect to direct the content of a conference because we’ve expressed a preference. We actually do talk to speakers personally, privately, with lead time if there’s something we’d like to hear, but we know they have their own agendas and trust them to have interesting, worthwhile things to say. We expect, because we’ve been taught to expect, that the people on that stage have something to teach us and that we won’t know ahead of time what part of their talks will be valuable. We know that they frequently know better than we do what we need to hear–because that’s how they end up on stage.

In our universe, this is not a surprise:

@ also interesting that you focus on my sex and race, not merits of what I said; plus my remarks were 4 men as well as women
@RALindsay
Ronald A. Lindsay

Our gender is always considered relevant to what we have to say. We always know that, day in and day out. When we speak up, we always carry the weight of other women on our back. Being white, I personally don’t live in a universe in which my race is always treated as relevant, but I know from listening to others that they do.

In the universe where Rebecca and I live, we know that the response to us saying something people disagree with is immediate. We know that criticism will address the perceived subtext of our words as though we had said or written it outright. We know we’ll be on the hook for everyone’s ideas about the social appropriateness of what we have to say, all at the same time, no matter how contradictory those words are. We know we’ll pay a price for failing to “keep the peace”.

In this universe, we are aware that we are considered perpetual outsiders. We know that even when we lend financial and organizational support, any constructive criticism we present, however politely we present it, will be construed as an attack. We always have to plan for that eventuality when choosing to speak.

In Lindsay’s universe, he can decide to skip out on a dinner attendees have paid extra to attend, a dinner that is a fundraiser for the organization whose fiscal health he is ultimately responsible for, in order to write and post something that would piss off the vast majority of those potential donors. He can ignore that his absence will be obvious, that talk at that fundraising dinner will inevitably touch on that absence and the reasons for it. He can ignore that he has already spent significant time at a conference antagonizing those attendees and potential donors and pursue the indulgence of his own pique.

In my universe, I would be fired for doing that. That behavior would be called grossly unprofessional even by those who sympathized with how I felt. It would be called a temper tantrum. I would be told to grow up, to stop letting criticism get to me, to stop being so emtional. In fact, in my universe, I’m told all that for far, far less.

In our universe, if Rebecca collected her Skepchick team together for an event, then gave that team a surprise like Lindsay’s speech obviously was to the CFI employees at Women in Secularsim, she would be called unfit for leadership. If I used Minnesota Atheist events to make personal points without discussing strategy with the other people responsible for making those events a success, I wouldn’t stay on the board very long at all. If either of us put our teammates in the terribly uncomfortable position Lindsay put all of the CFI staff in at this conference, we’d be called unstable, irresonsible narcissists out for self-aggrandizement. Again, in our universe, we face that “criticism” for far, far less.

In Lindsay’s universe, he can take a quote from Secular Woman that doesn’t say what he says it says and try to use it as a wedge against someone whose goals overlap with those of Secular Woman. He can do that just a few short weeks after having a public disagreement with the leadership of Secular Woman and having been–privately–dissuaded from making that disagreement blow up further in public by the very people he’s using that quote against now. He doesn’t worry about that action being seen as petty revenge over that disagreement.

In my universe, I always have to be aware of working relationships. I have to aware that I am not identified with the work of my organization or my movement no matter how much of it I do personally, so I will not be protected by those considerations by others’ investment in the success of that work. I know, Rebecca knows, the leadership of Secular Woman know that I am only protected to the extent that I invest in and maintain the health of those relationships. We know that, on our own, we are vulnerable.

So, yeah, Rebecca Watson does live in an alternate universe. So do I. It’s called, “being female”. And I am completely stunned that this would be treated as news, particularly at the Women in Secularism conference. We spent last year’s conference–which Lindsay attended–describing the landscape of this universe. We’ve talked for years about how our universe is different than that of a white male CEO. In the year since the first Women in Secularism conference, we’ve significantly stepped up how often we talk about that topic.

Lindsay, however, has managed, despite those experiences, to find it a surprise that this alternate universe exists and that he knows people who inhabit it. Somehow he has managed not to hear what we’ve been saying over and over and over. Something he’s been doing–or not doing–has kept him from picking up this information that, as the speaker opening this conference, is crucial.

I could speculate about what that is, but Lindsay used his position to tell me that this is unwelcome. Instead, I’ll close this by offering him a word of advice.

Ron, you can come up with any strategy you like for learning about this universe in which I live and operate. You’re a smart man, you can figure something out. Just do it quickly. The people who were wiling to occasionally shut up and listen are getting way ahead of you on this, and that’s not going to work. You can’t lead something–or someone–you don’t understand. You need to be on top of this. Now.

43 comments

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  1. 1
    smhll

    Lindsay, however, has managed, despite those experiences, to find it a surprise that this alternate universe exists and that he knows people who inhabit it. Somehow he has managed not to hear what we’ve been saying over and over and over. Something he’s been doing–or not doing–has kept him from picking up this information that, as the speaker opening this conference, is crucial.

    I think this is really important. In fact, your whole post is great. (Especially if you did it on the likely amount of sleep one gets at a conference.)

  2. 2
    irisvanderpluym

    So, yeah, Rebecca Watson does live in an alternate universe. So do I. It’s called, “being female”.

    Stunning that this could possibly be news to anyone involved with putting on a Women in Secularism conference.

    The metaphor ultimately falls apart, however, because unfortunately we live in the same physical universe as the Ron Lindsays of the world. I share your plea to him, but am not optimistic that it will be heard and understood.

    BTW I enjoyed your contributions to the conference. Other than this ugly blight, WIS2 was AMAZING.

  3. 3
    John Moeller

    I’m astonished that someone would have the hubris to stand up in front of a group of people to demand that they listen to him without having listened to anything that they say or understanding their point of view. Actually I’m not astonished. It happens all too often.

  4. 4
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    It occurs to me…

    Q: How do you get Ron Lindsay and other Very Important Thinker Leaders in the skeptic/atheist/secular movement to fight for 50-50 equal representation for men AND women on conference panels and in the audience?

    A: Hold a conference created for and by women, to discuss issues that directly affect women from the point of view of women. Suddenly the panels and audience aren’t nearly balanced enough, and need more men. ,

  5. 5
    hjhornbeck

    [nods in agreement]

    Yet again, you say what I’ve been thinking, and articulate it better than I could. Lindsay needs to resign, stat.

  6. 6
    R Johnston

    Ron Lindsay is an intellectually vacuous libertarian by all recent appearances.

    There is a fundamental need for the libertarian branch to be cleaved from the skeptic tree if the the skeptic movement is to genuinely pursue rationality, scientific literacy, economic literacy, skepticism about gender roles, and a whole host of skeptical ideals desperately opposed by libertarians.

  7. 7
    Eristae

    There’s a terrible irony in the fact that he delivered his tirade against “shut up and listen” as a speech during which the attendees, speakers, and all the other people in the room were expected to shut up and listen, or at the very least shut up. If anyone in that room had gotten up and started talking over Lindsay, this person certainly would have been forcibly removed. Lindsay knows damned well that there are times and places that people are expected to shut up and listen, and has demonstrated this fact by taking advantage of this fact. It is telling that he thinks that women should not be able to set a time or place were they are afforded the right he clearly enjoys.

  8. 8
    smhll

    The most pressing problem facing women in the secular movement is that they are insufficiently attentive to the POV of men? (Oh, good grief!)

  9. 9
    Kevin

    Well, there goes another organization — one that won’t get my support without substantial soul-searching and redirection.

    Seriously, are there any organizations left?

  10. 10
    Erin (formerly--formally?-- known as EEB)

    One thing (among many) that upsets me about this–and it goes to your point about different universes–is the same thing that astonished me during the TAM/Surly Amy situation: doesn’t he care that he insulted someone who donated an awful lot of her time and energy fundraising and advertising for his conference? Some of what he wrote in his response to Rebecca would have been out of line even if she was out in front of the conference leading a protest. But she wasn’t. She was someone who raised money, brought people who otherwise wouldn’t have come, promoted the conference, etc.

    I’m not saying that you can’t or shouldn’t disagree with people who raise money for your organization or donate their time to making your conferences a success. But in my universe, you do it with respect, and you generally do it privately. If you can’t muster up the decency to do so out of gratitude, at least you should do so out of self-interest.

    Because all I’m hearing is, “We don’t need your lady-money here, or the lady-members you’ve encouraged to come.” And it really shows the level of appreciation Lindsay would have for the people who might volunteer to help CFI.

  11. 11
    sureeptitious57

    It appears that Ron does not understand the meaning of privilege // What is especially
    ironic is that on his web page that Stephanie links to he makes the claim that one can
    not make a valid argument based on what you are completely forgetting that it is what
    some are that allows them to make such convincing arguments in the first place // As
    for example with blacks on racism or gays on homophobia or women on misogyny as
    they know more about it than white straight men ever will no matter how well meaning
    they are now // Someone should suggest to Ron that for some individuals experience
    is their education // The two are not mutually incompatible // How ever I do have some
    sympathy for his position because I some times slip back into equality mode and find
    my self saying what he does // I do not think any one is suggesting white straight men
    should shut up indefinitely but just not diminish the experience of someone they have
    no emotional under standing of // But I see on his web that apparently a gay man was
    told by Paul Zachary Myers to shut the fuck up and accused him of being a member of
    the Slyme Pit even though according to him he has never posted there // Now I do not
    know how true this is but if it is then Paul Zachary Myers must check his privilege now
    since far as I know he is not gay // However as I said we have zero confirmation of this
    What I would love Stephanie to explain though is why was Ron allowed to open at the
    conference // Am not talking about the speech // Why cannot a feminist conference for
    women not be opened by a woman // In deed why can not a feminist conference have
    no male but only female speakers or is that too politically correct now // If I attended a
    con and some of the the speakers were men I would be disappointed // So someone
    should tell Ron though about privilege and not just tell him but make sure that he fully
    understands it too // I did not understand it either until I had to learn it so he should as
    well // And on Paul Zachary Myers // Some do not like him and think he is manipulative
    but when you listen to him talk with his own kind he is quite charming in deed // I once
    listened to a pod with him and Rebecca and Brownian and Jade and Stephanie // And
    the lot of them were all so quiet one would not have guessed who they were from their
    general conduct // What exactly was I expecting // As they are just as human as anyone
    The trouble here is that both sides have this tendency to paint each other in a bad light
    Though rather than it being the absolutes of black and white now is rather more so the
    points on a continuum of grey // Which may not be so exciting but that is true of all of us

  12. 12
    Stephanie Zvan

    Kevin, I can’t give up on CFI that easily. Mostly accidentally, I’ve met most of the people who work there. They’re very good people with lots of integrity doing necessary, smart work. That isn’t something that gets thrown away easily because one person, even the CEO, mangled something very badly indeed.

  13. 13
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Almost sort of the worst of it is that a lot of people from CFI worked really hard over the past couple of years to create and grow this conference, and have been more or less a rousing success. From what I’ve heard, a lot of those people had to spend the weekend apologizing and explaining, instead of enjoying the good thing they made happen. Why Lindsay thought that taking a steaming crap all over their hard work was a good idea is completely incomprehensible to me.

  14. 14
    Martha

    If we were given (or took) that responsibility and used that to, as I put it yesterday on a panel, say, “Your work and your concerns are good, they’re important, but for the love of humanity, don’t take it too far“, we would never be allowed to step on another stage.

    Yep, I loved it when you said this yesterday, and I love this post even more. Thanks!

  15. 15
    carlie

    After reading about this fora few days, I realize what really upsets me about this is how it has eclipsed everything else, and once again we have to talk about some guy and how proudly ignorant he is. I’m sure that everyone who was there wants to talk about the fantastic speakers, and all the great things they learned, and how energizing it was to be in a room with so many people they admired and wanted to meet, and how much fun it was to be able to sit and talk to like-minded people far into the night. Nobody wants to have to talk about how some guy didn’t get it. And yet, y’all have to, because his remarks need to be countered, and the people who were so put out by that speech need to be reassured that the conference spirit was not meant to be that way.

    It’s just like with all of the other harassment – NO, we do NOT like spending all of our time talking about how badly women in the movement get treated. We honestly don’t enjoy having to chronicle the abuse, and explain again and again and AGAIN why women are full people too. We would much rather get about our business. No, Ron is not the center of the universe, and everyone is not getting their jollies complaining about him. But it has to be done, to counter his message, and once again the interesting, wonderful, community-building topics get shunted aside to deal with the boor stomping around the room knocking everything over. Dammit.

  16. 16
    carlie

    I am so, so sorry for that italics fail. I shall sit in the corner and write “I will check to be sure I got that stupid / sign on ” a hundred times.

  17. 17
    Stephanie Zvan

    I see no italics fail. :)

  18. 18
    smhll

    After reading about this fora few days, I realize what really upsets me about this is how it has eclipsed everything else, and once again we have to talk about some guy and how proudly ignorant he is.

    I like Carlie’s idea. I don’t want to be pushy about what people write about, because it should be their free choice. But, ummmmm, I bet there are some potentially great topics about what other people were saying at the conference that would be inspiring and fruitful to talk about. (I don’t love the meme from politics that used to dominate that whatever was leading on the major newspapers (so, so long ago) had to be the topic du jour for everyone.)

  19. 19
    oolon

    @Carlie, yeah everyone thought Vacula was going to derail and force the conversation a particular way… Who would have guessed Ron Lindsay would beat him to the prize? JV was even more of an irrelevant sideshow than expected, totally overshadowed by Ron. (Not sure that can be seen as an upside)

  20. 20
    maudell

    Very well put, Stephanie.
    I was thinking about voicing a similar opinion on his blog, but the amount of flaming pitters fighting for the right to call women c*nts made me lukewarm to the idea.
    But the whole thing is insulting to people wanting to change the movement so that women (and other groups on the shitty side of the intersectional axis) feel as welcome as men in the movement.
    I don’t think Lindsay is a jerk or a misogynist (I have never met him, but he doesn’t strike me as one). His blind spot is pretty telling, and I wish he thought about it for a second instead of assuming this is a “we hate white men” argument. Imagine the response if Rebecca had said his argument was comparable to North Korean propaganda (he made efforts to avoid Godwinning I guess).
    Bleah. This won’t stop me from supporting CFI in general, but bleah.

  21. 21
    carlie

    Stephanie – I thank you for your kindness. :)

  22. 22
    Argle Bargle

    sureeptitious57 @11

    If you make something difficult to read then people will not read it. Sentences end with periods, not with double slashes. Paragraphs are used to separate different thoughts. These are simple conventions of English. Learn to use them. They’ll make your wall o’text easier to read.

  23. 23
    carlie

    smhll – I want to be sure I’m clear; I’m not complaining that people have chosen to talk about it, I’m complaining because I agree with them that criticizing the speech does take precedence to be sure that others don’t get the wrong idea, and that necessarily pushes the good topics to the side.

  24. 24
    Argle Bargle

    Carlie is right. Other than reading Justin’s live blogs I know very little that happened at WiS2 except that Ron Lindsay made a speech where he showed he doesn’t understand privilege and he scolded people for doing something few of them had ever done.

    sureeptitious57, I have written a run-on sentence. Try not to do that.

  25. 25
    debzilla

    So glad I followed a link on FB to your blog and then the link to the speech itself. So very sad this is all such an issue in the skeptical/atheist communities.

  26. 26
    lilandra

    Lindsay appears to be gaslighting Watson. I would rather point that out than own his analogy of her living in an alternate universe. It is a common manipulative technique used against women, who express disagreement, upset, or anger when someone has wrongfully trespassed on their boundaries. The victim is made to bear the responsibility of the trespasser’s initial rude or even abusive behavior, because they are made to feel like they are disconnected from reality. Their perception of reality is questioned with accusations that they are crazy, being irrational, or need to calm down, or the popular that they are on their period. There is a long social history of a woman’s word being discounted because of her gender. The term “hysteria” has been used since antiquity to discount women’s reactions. I just wrote a blog on this at Ace of Clades. I think gaslighting is a useful term to name and articulate this manipulation technique.

  27. 27
    Tyle

    lilandra, great connection with gaslighting! Also, isn’t there a delicious, ironic twist in this case, given that the whole thing is on the public record? lol.

    I also totally agree with carlie that it’s lame that stupid crap like this has to overshadow all the great stuff that certainly went on at the conference. But I think there’s a silver lining. I am fairly new to feminism, and incidents like this one have made me more aware of the extent of the problem, and more passionate about fighting against it. I imagine that the same is true for many others.

    So I’m on board with the consensus above that responding to this crap is useful and necessary.

    Someone should write a sequel to Greta’s book: “Why Are You Feminists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off Opponents of Misogyny”. This episode could go in there.

  28. 28
    Amphigorey

    My first thought on seeing Ron Lindsay’s assertion that Rebecca lives in an alternate universe was, “Yes. She lives in a universe where she can compile this incredibly long Page o’ Hate because that many people despise her for being a woman on the internet. Ron Lindsay is lucky enough to not live in that universe.”

    I tweeted him to look at her Page o’ Hate. I don’t think he has. I wonder if it would change his perspective at all.

  29. 29
    Jadehawk

    Watson’s World and Two Models of Communication

    remember when certain people were throwing a shitfit about RW talking about science when she had a degree in communication, because clearly she should leave talking about science to people with science degrees?

    lol.

  30. 30
    oolon

    @Amphigorey, he already posted on Surly Amys series on hate directed at women series… So you’d hope he did a little research before writing that :-/

    http://skepchick.org/2012/07/speaking-out-against-hate-directed-at-women-ronald-a-lindsay/

    What is especially sad and disgusting about this trend is that some religious skeptics seem to be mimicking religious fundamentalists: they want to intimidate women into silence and submission.

    Maybe because he has already spoken about women being silenced he felt he had to speak about teh menz!

    What a minute >> “some religious skeptics” << He never even said that its from within the atheist community and blamed this weird group of religious skeptics. Who are they? I'd not noticed that before!

    [ OT: Noticed Steersman is in that thread whining about PZ and being silenced by Marilove :) Poor dear ]

  31. 31
    Silentbob

    @ 24 Ulysses

    Other than reading Justin’s live blogs I know very little that happened at WiS2…

    I’m assuming you mean Jason’s live blogs? ;-)

  32. 32
    Feminace, formerly Qurikythrope

    remember when certain people were throwing a shitfit about RW talking about science when she had a degree in communication, because clearly she should leave talking about science to people with science degrees?

    I think people were still throwing that same fit. I recall one of Mayhew’s tweets about there being no scientists or doctors on the first psudeo-science panel and I’m all like “Really?” I wasn’t aware that I needed to have a Ph.D to figure out homeopathy was bullshit or read up on why acupuncture doesn’t work.

    It skates a little too close to snobbery for my “uneducated” tastes,

  33. 33
    Jadehawk

    I think people were still throwing that same fit. I recall one of Mayhew’s tweets about there being no scientists or doctors on the first psudeo-science panel and I’m all like “Really?” I wasn’t aware that I needed to have a Ph.D to figure out homeopathy was bullshit or read up on why acupuncture doesn’t work.

    no, i know they’re still doing this sort of thing; it just strikes me as extra-funny now in the context of RW being criticized “on her hometurf”, given the title of that article.

    Also, I’m baffled as to why there would need to be a scientist on the panel? I wasn’t aware that only scientists have people suggest to them that they should try woo-medicine to cure their illnesses

  34. 34
    Captaintripps

    There are still people throwing fits about Rebecca making a dumb mistake about Galileo on the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, even though she owned up to it in the very next episode. This was actually a great example of being wrong, being told you were wrong, and owning up to it. It would behoove Lindsay to follow such an example!

  35. 35
    jenBPhillips

    Re: the pseudoscience panel–I actually wished that a healthcare professional could have been included on the panel. Not because their training would have made them the ONLY participant competent to handle that subject, but because the discussion didn’t just stay with ‘homeopathy is water’. It verged quite a bit into considerations of why women are disproportionately targeted by CAM purveyors, and one of the reasons supplied was that doctors treat women differently/dismissively. I think it would have been a richer discussion if someone who was a healthcare provider could have weighed in on that point with respect to training biases or anything else.

  36. 36
    Asher Kay

    Nothing to add — just thought it was worth chiming in that this is an amazingly awesome post. I really hope Lindsay takes the time to read and think about it.

  37. 37
    rorschach

    I think it would have been a richer discussion if someone who was a healthcare provider could have weighed in on that point with respect to training biases or anything else.

    Agreed. Especially since there no such biases.

  38. 38
    Sili

    , I realize what really upsets me about this is how it has eclipsed everything else, and once again we have to talk about some guy and how proudly ignorant he is.

    It may have you who brought this up at some point, but as long as people keep walking into the conversation and demand that we drop everything to take them by the hand and educate them on Feminism 101, we’re not likely to ever get any further.

    And that seems to be exactly the point of the ignorant interrupters. They, including Lindsay – sorry, Dr Lindsay – whether intentionally or not, are afraid that we might get somewhere and actually change the world for the better.

    Shut up – don’t rock the boat.

  39. 39
    jenBPhillips

    rorschach, I just followed you home and read your blog post about that very session. My thoughts exactly.

  40. 40
    Physics or Stamp Collecting

    I contacted the CFI to let them know that I do not want to support any organization that tolerates such unprofessional behavior on the CEO’s part. I am a young, skeptical, atheist scientist and, I hear, am part of the demographic this movement needs to move forward. I also am a woman and a feminist and have no desire to support a movement that doesn’t support me.

  41. 41
    Greg Laden

    I had first read “Rebecca Watson inhabits an alternate universe.” as “Rebecca Watson inhibits an alternate universe.” and thought, “…. there goes Rebecca again, inhibiting entire universes…”

    Then I read it correctly and thought “Yeah, in a way, she does. That’s cool.”

    Then I read what the guy meant and did not agree with it.

  42. 42
    Ichthyic

    someone reminded me of the Kerfuffle between Kurtz and Lindsay when Kurtz was still a board member of CFI (since he was the founder, after all).

    it’s amazing, but it really appears that Lindsay has BECOME Kurtz!

    it’s just the specific targeted group has changed from “militant atheists” to “militant feminists”.

    seriously, read the old exchanges from 2009!

    http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/are_there_any_mccarthyites_at_the_center_for_inquiry/

    read Kurtz’ post, then read Lindsay’s comment.

    tell me it the whole thing doesn’t look familiar….

  43. 43
    athyco

    I certainly can’t tell you that the whole thing doesn’t look familiar, Ichthyic. Wow.

    Kurtz did not provide a link back to the Lindsay post that prompted his on “McCarthyites.”

    http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/have_atheist_fundamentalists_taken_over_cfi/P0/

    Part of a Ron Lindsay comment to that post:

    Which brings me back to the subject of my post. If an atheist fundamentalist is someone who is dogmatic in his/her beliefs and/or sees attacks on religion as the predominant purpose of an organization such as CFI, then no one has provided (and I submit no one can provide) evidence that there are atheist fundamentalists at CFI, much less that they have taken over CFI.

    Gee, that sounds quite a lot like the current “We submit that no one has provided (nor can provide) evidence that Ron Lindsay’s opening talk at WiS2 addressed feminists who have used or promoted “shut up and listen” or “ossified” the concept of privilege as silencing tactics.”

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    [...] about some of the lows: I may well weigh in on them at some point myself (although others have already said most of what I would want to say). But the speakers and panelists at WiS2 mostly seem to have [...]

  5. 48
    Assorted Thoughts on Women in Secularism 2 » Brute Reason

    [...] heard all about this, but if not, here are some excellent observations on it from Rebecca, PZ, Stephanie, Adam, Ashley, Amanda, and even [...]

  6. 49
    If You Have Something To Say, Say It To the CFI Board » Greta Christina's Blog

    [...] Open Letter to the Center for Inquiry, Amanda Marcotte The Silencing of Men, Rebecca Watson An Alternate Universe, Stephanie Zvan Taking it Personally: Privilege and Women in Secularism, Ashley F. Miller Some [...]

  7. 50
    What Does Religion Bring to the Table? Katha Pollitt’s Talk at Women in Secularism 2 » Greta Christina's Blog

    [...] about some of the lows: I will probably weigh in on them at some point myself (although others have already said most of what I would want to say). But the speakers and panelists at WiS2 mostly seem to have [...]

  8. 51
    Misconceiving Privilege: Ron Lindsay and the Atheist Movement’s Resistance to Intersectionality | NonProphet Status

    [...] and race, as do other marginalized groups about their particular oppression. Stephanie Zvan has a fantastic piece on her Almost Diamonds blog about how this applies in this exact instance. Thinking more broadly, our culture’s basic humor [...]

  9. 52
    Skepchick.no | Women in Secularism

    [...] var meget uprofesjonell. Andre har allerede skrevet en god del om dette, som for eksempel her, her og her, så jeg lar det være med det, men dette er en interessant meta-diskusjon i seg [...]

  10. 53
    A Blatant Misrepresentation — And An Insulting One: The Content of Ron Lindsay’s WiS2 Talk » Greta Christina's Blog

    [...] I can’t talk about the context of the talk without discussing the content. (Others have done this as well, and their pieces are well worth reading.) The context wouldn’t be troubling [...]

  11. 54
    A Crisis of Professionalism » Almost Diamonds

    [...] on whether they are willing to allow their organization and their conferences to be used to exercise the ignorance and personal grievances of their CEO. Their meeting ends today. On Sunday, the president of American Atheists will appear on the podcast [...]

  12. 55
    An Imperfect Response | Grail Diary

    [...] people who are friends and acquaintances wrote about it as well.  They were pretty teed off.  I could see [...]

  13. 56
    Abused meme roundup: “Witch Hunts” » The Crommunist Manifesto

    [...] to the criticism it engendered. The reasons why people are upset with it have been meticulously explained (although that does not seem to perturb the flood of people claiming that there’s nothing [...]

  14. 57
    He Treated Us With Contempt: The Context of Ron Lindsay’s WiS2 Talk » Greta Christina's Blog

    [...] Secularism 2 conference, and with the responses he wrote to criticisms of said talk. As have many other bloggers besides me. This isn’t about that. This is about the context. And as bad as the [...]

  15. 58
    Abused meme roundup: “Witch Hunts” | Crommunist

    […] to the criticism it engendered. The reasons why people are upset with it have been meticulously explained (although that does not seem to perturb the flood of people claiming that there’s nothing […]

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