Dawkins Wants to Be Rid of These Troublesome Bloggers

First we had Dawkins trying to suppress the allegations against Michael Shermer by exerting his influence behind the scenes. Then we had him try to suggest that date rape isn’t so bad. Then we had him try to suggest that people who have been plied with alcohol by others remain responsible for…something (terrible analogy) and that feminists don’t respect women if they believe it’s possible to victimize them. Then we had him try to suggest that rape of a highly intoxicated person, a crime in itself, shouldn’t be reported.

Now, in defense of another friend and colleague, he’d like to shut us down directly. [Read more...]

Dawkins Tries Again

First we had Dawkins trying to suppress the allegations against Michael Shermer by exerting his influence behind the scenes. Then we had him try to suggest that date rape isn’t so bad. Then we had him try to suggest that people who have been plied with alcohol by others remain responsible for…something (terrible analogy) and that feminists don’t respect women if they believe it’s possible to victimize them. Today, we have these:

As I pointed out to Dawkins on Twitter this morning, we have significantly more evidence against Shermer than that.* As I promised him, here is an enumerated list. [Read more...]

Dawkins Throws Himself on a Grenade

Last night, we saw the Shermer allegations hit the broader media. Knowing that the women whom Shermer had targeted were using their names in the article and having a pretty good idea what it said, I’d already written a post telling people who had previously dismissed these claims to think hard about their reactions to the article before going public with them. I read the Oppenheimer article to be certain it said what I thought it must, but my post went up within half an hour of the article.

I’m more than aware that Richard Dawkins has no obligation to read the free advice I give, much less take it, but I have to believe it would have been better if he had in this case. He and Twitter are not on good terms most of the time. This morning was particularly egregious. [Read more...]

After the Shermer Article: What Do You Decide?

An article has just been published on Buzzfeed about sexism in atheism and skepticism, the allegations against Michael Shermer, and the protection he’s received from some portions of the movement.

It isn’t as though this information is particularly new. Some of us have been talking about this problem for years. We’ve had details on Shermer’s behavior for more than a year at this point, and we’ve seen the responses to that as he has continued to make appearances at conferences and been added to secular think tanks.

This situation is new in some respects, however. These allegations have not just appeared in a blog. They’ve been public for more than a year in some cases, and with a New York Times columnist prepared to listen and take their claims seriously, these women have used their names. The journalist in question, Mark Oppenheimer, has a history of uncovering abuse in other communities, prompting reform.

That makes this yet one more important decision point for people in these movements. [Read more...]

Are Men Really Harassed More Than Women?

This past Thursday saw a bold, contrary assertion made in The Daily Beast. Cathy Young, libertarian and “equity feminist” polemicist, asserted that harassment of men is ignored under the headline “Men Are Harassed More Than Women Online”.

The Study

The basis for the headline, and the key point for Young’s argument, was that a two-week-old press release from a UK think tank claiming “Male celebrities receive more abuse on Twitter than women” had been ignored. Being in the U.S., I can’t say much about how Demos press releases are usually treated, but I will agree that Young’s article was the first I’d heard of the research. However, looking at the release, it was immediately evident why it had been ignored. [Read more...]

Suspended by Twitter (Updated)

Update: Okay, I’m back. No need to bug Twitter.

On March 28, I reported a repeated and prolific abuser to Twitter. I didn’t hear from them again until today, when I received the following message:

Screen capture of email. Text included in the post.

Hello,

The account you have reported has been suspended and the profile has been hidden from public view. If this user writes in, we’ll be sure to explain our policies regarding this issue before they are allowed to return to the site.

After six months of no action, my trust in Twitter support was low, so I decided to check this user’s profile. Nope. They were still active. Still, I thought maybe they were in the process of handling the ticket and the matter would be resolved soon.

Then I tried to retweet someone from my phone app. [Read more...]

Politics and the English Language, Revisited

On the occasion of Richard Dawkins complaining about “unofficial” Orwellian thought police, I went back to reread Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language“. When the meme originated in the slime pit, I ignored it, but now that we have global secular thought leaders adopting their language and promoting their contributors, that appears to have been the wrong strategy. Still, in my defense, who thought Dawkins would reach out to publicly embrace them instead of ignoring their obvious nonsense?

If you haven’t read the essay, you should. If you’ve ever used Orwellian metaphor to talk about things that are not state power, you should read it before trying to communicate with your fellow human beings again. Don’t worry. It’s short.

An excerpt:

People who write in this manner usually have a general emotional meaning—they dislike one thing and want to express solidarity with another—but they are not interested in the detail of what they are saying. [Read more...]

Old School Harassment

Whenever I have something to say about Dawkins that isn’t hugely complimentary, I expect some harassment, and I get it. I did not expect the comment that showed up this morning.

Okay, that’s not quite true. I expected the long, rambling part where the commenter couldn’t tell the difference between saying aborting a fetus you don’t want to carry to term is okay a claiming it’s the one right thing to do. I expected the petty butchering of FtBloggers’ names. I expected the anti-social justice vitriol. I expected to be called fat.

I just didn’t expect this.

[Read more...]

“The Atheist Camel Returns”, Bart Centre on Atheists Talk

This Sunday, tune in as friend of the show Bart Centre joins us once again to catch us up on what he’s been up to.

Related Links

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