While waiting for my ride to my exam, I decided to check my mail and came across this little message that I felt needed a reply.
There are some disturbing tendencies among skeptics/atheists I’d like to bring your attention to
Disturbing? Tendencies? ATTENTION???
What could it be? Well….
- Banning people for disagreeing. I’m not talking about people making stupid claims like the earth is actually a large piece of bubble-gum. I’m talking about people who think maybe everyone should be treated equally and anyone can be a victim of discrimination. It happens more to some groups than others, but that doesn’t mean anyone is immune. Blocking instead of answering valid questions/concerns or to avoid showing what you claim is accurate, or blocking people you are publicly criticizing in order to keep them from answering to that criticism are also ‘in’ behaviors among many. The point has been made that people are allowed to run their web pages as they see fit and I agree but just because they can and do doesn’t mean they aren’t being a little irresponsible and underhanded. remember when a skeptic/atheist would trip over themselves to answer someone who questioned their claims or demanded proof? Those days are long gone in some places.
I haven’t blocked anyone (YET) from my blog so I assume this is aimed at other FTBloggers/ullies. And I will remind people this.
These are private blogs. Our personal agreement is as long as we don’t indulge in blatant faux pas we can blog here. Now I assume the censorship whinge is about various MRA and people from the organisation officially calling themselves the Slymepit. But these are blogs aimed at stuff we like.
We cannot keep answering questions. We often have comment policies which if triggered will cause bans and deletions. But we can be as draconian as we like. I can ban people for supporting the breaking of eggs on the pointed side if I so wish and there is pretty much nothing people can do about it except NOT READ. However I am trying my level best to put in a sensible system and indeed people like PZ Myers offer places which are off topic and off topic with no moderation to allow his readers to say what they feel like.
And we aren’t the only group of people who use bans like this (I shall cover it later. It’s actually rather interesting).
The current major argument is whether or not women have it bad in Atheism. And I have repeatedly said that while women in Skeptic/Atheist circles are not badly mistreated like say women in Geek or Videogame circles (or Securities and Hacking for that matter) they are not represented well. And are often subject to Atheism having been a boy’s club for a long long while.
We keep saying this and you keep ignoring all the people who complain about it. And yes I agree it’s a western thing and kind of “silly” if you aren’t from the same kind of society but I recognise people care about things closer to home. You will lose more sleep about graffiti bandits tagging your house than genocide in a far off country. That’s horrid but that’s how life is for most people. So more people are worked up about sexism in their back garden. In 2 years time if a horrific attack on a woman came to my attention in India, I would be less pro-active about it because I won’t be here.
With this in mind there is a distinct anti-feminist drive amongst atheists. There is a simple piece of terminology you must understand. A feminist is just someone who believes and campaigns for equal rights for women. They don’t want to steal your penis and turn you into a zombie. If you believe that women are and should be treated as equals to men bar the obvious (Maternity) then congratulations you are a feminist. If you are willing to obfuscate or deny real issues amongst women then you are not. There is a major anti-feminist campaign to simply turn every argument here into an argument about them. The amount of personal attacks is astonishing and often they cross various acceptable lines.
- The redefining of words to fit a certain social movements agenda. A lot of people are abusing the phrase “definitions change over time” Yes, they do change but if you are aware of that then you should be smart enough to know the old usage doesn’t just shrink into a little ball of light and blink out in front of everyone one day and no one sends out regular memos which are posted on front doors to announce any change. It takes time for the most familiar definition to fall out of use if it ever does at all.
Okay. But the only one that I have really run across as “redefining” in our current society is the word “retard” and mainly because that word has always been part of the euphemism roulette (Stupid, Idiot and Moron were earlier uses of the word) where it suddenly becomes unacceptable to say the previous word and the word slowly becomes less and less insulting.
And words are redefined to fit social movement agendas all the time. Nigger and Fag (more recently) were both redefined by their usage in American society with both being part of reclamation movements. It isn’t universal (people in the UK for instance refer to cigarettes as fags). Neither is the way people speak in different parts of the world.
- Paralinguistic cues. This is a widespread problem since we have become more exposed to ‘text only’ interactions. Language also isn’t always easy to understand especially when you are reading the written word. Text does not carry mannerisms or paralinguistic cues . This causes people like Adam Lee to make assumptions and come to incorrect conclusions about other people he has never met. Adam doesn’t understand there is always more to a person than what can be guessed by reading a twitter feed or a blog.
Adam Lee doesn’t blog here…
I don’t even know who he is in all honesty. I should read up a bit more.
There is a lot more to a person than a twitter feed or a blog. BUT what we do on them explains a lot about the type of person we are, what our beliefs are and how we really treat people. If the only reason you aren’t calling everyone you meet a bag of cunts (and I am using the massively devastating american usage of the expression rather than the more jovial british attitude to the word.) is the social repercussion then you aren’t a nice person.
Your online persona is basically you without the limiter of social disapproval. You wouldn’t dream of showing up to a job interview dressed like Bruce Willis in Die Hard with A Vengeance because you know people would disapprove and think you are a racist. You may not be one but that’s the persona you are putting forth. We may be “judgemental” but it’s not up to us to look past your thick callous exterior to find the goodness inside you.
That’s the job of Disney Princesses. Do I look like fucking Belle to you? Do you see me triapse around in swishy dresses surrounded by anthropomorphic utensils? It’s not my job to tolerate you till I get Stockholm Syndrome/witness the hidden beauty that is you. It’s you job to put your best foot forward.
- Censorship. There have been an incredible amount of attempts to “quiet the opposition” among some atheist/skeptics. Flagging videos, blocking people before you even have any exchange with them. Character assassinations, shunning, calling for people to pick one side of an issue and force anyone who isn’t on your side out of any discussion. Dismissing entire groups of people based on who they choose to interact with rather than considering them based on their actions and words. All these things are counterproductive. Behaving in this manner limits our ability to progress and interact. If you surround yourself with people who agree with you on all aspects of life you start to think your opinion is the most reasonable because everyone you know agrees. Social interaction is complicated and the more open you are to differing opinions the easier it will be to make sure everyone is treated equally.
There has also been harassment and threats and attempts to divert people from readings solely because of where they are hosted or who says them. Tribalism exists on both sides.
And some of the people you interact with are insanely dangerous. MRA’s from the Slymepit who were regulars at AVfM showed up. Many of our bloggers here have been harassed by people such as Wooly Bumblebee who are writers at AVfM. The same AVfM that supported the idea that the women in India who are raped have it easier than the men. And I noticed absolutely no backlash from the Slymepit.
What would you have me think? That you are all silently disapproving? Well they are vocal enough about shoes or whether or not I should have things they consider important yet they are actually silent about their own members supporting rape apologists in FREAKING INDIA. They defended a culture that was trying to blame women for a rape that left a young woman dead. The interaction you are having with these people is one of camaraderie, not distaste.
It’s not counter-productive. It’s recognition of who you are and what you are willing to fight for. In my experience the FTB naysayers were more interested in my quest to replace an old laptop (including one individual who suggested I should GET A JOB.) than the actual protests that I covered.
And the entire irony is that many people from the anti-FTB brigade are guilty of PRECISELY this.
- The lack of inclination or need to explain your position/conclusions to others. Many skeptic/atheists do not feel it is important to explain why they feel the way they do about certain subjects. They expect others to just ‘get it’ because it seems so simple to them. Anyone who doesn’t fall in line is either the enemy, stupid, or just unworthy of being shown any respect. PZ Myers is a great example of this. Now I know PZ has been very supportive of me and I don’t mean to insult him but, to be honest, PZ is like a conceited, bitter, vindictive, bully. He is far too busy to ever make sure his point is clear or to make a case for his side of an argument. He is to important to be bothered by silly details like being accurate and honest. It is much easier to shut down the critics by shutting off the comments and/or banning them when (or sometimes before) they post presenting a counter opinion. If we could harness the condescension and arrogance contained in PZ’s head it could power 3 states an still be enough to run the intense limelight he thinks constantly shines on him.
Well he is a pretty well known atheist and a pretty known internet figure in addition to actually having a pretty well known job. I don’t have time either but the way I write is different (And I travel sufficiently to work on posts during transit). However he does explain. He has explained. Others have explained what he believes in too. Now I don’t know what your personal relationship with the man is but from what I read, his blog is pretty explicit on what he does and doesn’t support.
He has posts that regularly hit hundreds of comments. He doesn’t have time to respond to each of your comments.
And many “critics” cross various well established lines.
Put it this way, if I went on the Stormfront and defended interracial marriage and children I would get banned. That’s their idea of freedom and their idea of rules. I have to stick to those ideas. The same applies when you comment here. The individual bloggers comment policies control what you can and cannot say. It’s not universal.