Here is the thing. I actually dealt with the Animal Liberation brigade before I came to FTB. I went back and found a few things I wrote about Animal Liberation prior to joining FTB. Bear in mind? These are older and I have grown since then in the language that I use to write in. I COULD censor these but the lack of censoring makes a point about something we should all be willing to do.
Okay the video starts by comparing atheism to the Animal Lib/Rights movement and creates an antagonist to the more normal stance of Jaclyn Glenn. A strawman to be knocked down. Let us get this clear.
There are extremists within the movement of Animal Liberation, and while we may consider PETA to be quite harmless and a bit bonkers to be fair, they provide a handy front for the extremists. As many are aware, one of my first repeated posts was about Camille Marino’s Negotiation is Over.
I wrote this about Alena, a victim of NIO’s harassment campaign who was forced to give up an education to avoid the hate mail, harassment and death threats.
It is estimated that the pigs that died in researching seatbelts save roughly a 1000 lives per pig per year in the USA alone. At one point deaths on the roads in cars was so ubiquious that seatbelts (a relatively simple addition) was seen as an insult to the driving skills of the driver. The research coupled with the introduction of the Volvo which sold itself on safety brought about the idea that we should wear seatbelts in cars.
The best example I give as a method by which we reduce animal testing is the Clear Blue pregnancy test. Simple, effective and cheap when compared to the rabbit test of yore. The animal liberation movement (I keep them different from animal rights per se since a lot of animal rights associations like the RSPCA do phenomenal work which I thorouughly appreciate.) manage to pull of their nonsense because there is no concerted equal movement that is willing to campaign on their turf (Yes… We must sink to their level atleast in terms of campaign rather than harassment) against them and correct their ideas in a public arena.
Pro-Test UK was spectacularly effective because it did precisely what this article wants us to do. Go out and educate people. Another good example was the zebra fish adverts from Heart Research UK (I am british so am more familiar with those sides of the argument). It stood in shopping centres, handed out leaflets and basically stood diametrically opposite to PETA and indeed the ALF and other horrid groups of people who firebombed, stole, harassed and mailed razorblades to scientists including an incident where nailbombs were sent through the mail to various scientitsts (The Royal Mail has bomb detection dogs courtesy of the fears over the IRA so these were thwarted).
And I think the same thing has to happen in the USA.
Imagine if you will a man called Mohammed. He wishes to find out the names of staff in a university regarding a certain project regarding comparative religions in a philosophy department. He also runs a website which outright states that he hates people who run the philosophy department due to their comparative religion course and naturally their stance that most religions are man made constructs and Isalm is no different from that. This hatred is not just the dislike we bandy about regarding topics such as “I dislike Manchester United and think they smell” but the website and it’s readers threatens a future where the philosophy department and it’s students live in terror as they are tortured, sexually violated, assaulted and killed.
Now do you think that this man would be able to get a list of staff and students and workers from the university? Do you think a court of law would rule in his favour?
Not a chance in hell… Hell in your country they would probably lock him up for sprouting the hatred that we see. Yet we see that Florida has forced the University of Florida to submit documents containing precisely these details to Camille Marino and her NIO. Why? Hell! Yet we see that Dr. (hah!) Stephen Best still lectures at a university despite writing horrid hate speech. If the man was called Mustafa he would be in serious trouble for incitement of terrorism but frankly even the worst islamic terror threat (in my experience) has been beheading. Dr. Stephen’s letters show the kind of inventive psychopathic torture we are more accustomed to in horror movies.
Because animal lib hasn’t physically hurt someone in the USA yet (In the UK they injured a politician with a firebomb). So they are seen as a comical threat, a bunch of stupid hippy vegans who are all bark and no bite. And nothing will be done until it’s too late and some poor sod (probably some student because they are the easiest target) gets injured or killed by someone who believes in the kind of nonsense that we find in the movement. Because a large amount of people buy into the idea that we are the modern day Dr. Moreaus of the world and that is because we aren’t willing to draw a line and tell poeole what goes into the simplest of medications.
Otherwise PETA will keep going around telling people that we have magic computers out there that can simulate an entire working human body (we don’t. My friend is working on a PhD to simulate a human heart and that’s slow going as it is let alone something more complex like your nervous system). Otherwise Camille will keep harassing people (People have been calling up and harassing people in Florida and one of the Professors names has been linked to his children and indeed the school they attend with threats ranging from “leaflet school” to “do horrible things to their kids”.
In short, I fear that at some point someone will be injured or killed by the animal liberation movement. Why wait till that point? We should educate those who use our drugs and the public about how research works from a young age so as to realise the necessity of usage.
I wrote this about Animal Libbers such as Stephen Best and Camille Marino. The fact is Jaclyn fails to recognise the schism in her own animal rights movement between people who harass and send death threats. Instead she opts for a strawman animal libber. Cats vs Dogs. Lets not forget, her portrayal of “fundie animal libbers” isn’t a strawman so much as a watered down version of the terrorists who torment biologists.
And yes, they are terrorists. As I wrote above, had the Animal Libbers been swarthy Middle Easterners, Asians and Africans rather than a mainly white upper middle class people we would have jailed a lot more of them and taken their attacks way more seriously. If I were to run a series of articles teaching people how to infilitrate and set bombs on facilities, I would be the Atheist version of Ken Ham. Thankfully, the only bombs I am interested in are edible. Lets not forget that her faux animal rights activist is a neutered down version of really terrible people.
Okay let’s look at the flaws in this argument.
For starters? She’s portraying the feminists and indeed “us” as the irrational blonde animal rights lady. We are potrayed as the straw man and indeed there are some gross misrepresentations here. Her straw man is meant to represent FTB.
For starters? FTB is not a monolith. For fuck’s sake, me and Ally Fogg both have pointed out that the usage of words in different cultures means different things and that British Colloquial and American have moved apart so much and have different cultural contexts to word usage. So people in the USA getting mad about our usage of the word “cunt” (and bear in mind, me and Ally both lived in Manchester’s inner city, he lives in Longsight, I lived in Crumpsall and Longsight. Our usage of the word is different and in our cultural context its been more of a class than a gender issue with everyone using the word and it being used equally and with context can be affectionate or even with admiration. Sure there were people who thought we were mansplaining but frankly?
It’s our culture, do you think it’s advisable for a bunch of Americans to dictate what we all speak like? Must we point out that ask a child to move their fanny in the UK would get you smacked by an angry mother? Yes, we get it. Internet is effectively American. It’s why I post my posts at such odd hours for India. if I want to get read, I post at midnight, because that is when America wakes up and reads their daily Internet Stuff.
FTB is not a monolith, we have disagreements. The difference is we are more polite about it than you think. I have disagreed with PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson, Taslima Nasrin and I often write on topics diametrically opposed to Ally Fogg. Yet….
Yet me and Ally were perfectly content to share a pint the last time I was back. I fully intend to drink with PZ Myers this August. You can disagree with people without calling them names. Hell. I disagreed with JT Eberhard and I still want to hang out and play videogames with the guy. I mean people make mistakes.
We change and grow and improve as we do so. Person Today is not the same as the Person Tomorrow.
Right to begin with…
1. Compare Atheist Community to Animal Rights
Our structure isn’t the same. In fact? I will point out that Animal Rights and Animal Lib tend to be more egalitarian than Atheists. Can’t see animals as equals and then see women as inferior I suppose. Atheists still have an old guard who don’t get the new and who keep encouraging the same silly ideas.
2. They aren’t all furry, Lets not discriminate
Okay, here is the thing. Animal Rights DO discriminate against animals with no fur. I have yet to see PETA march on the UN or the Red Cross demanding they protect the Anopheles Mosquito or the Ascaria worm. What? You think your life is more valuable than the lives of thousands of parasites? We all disccriminate, Animal Lib just picked cute animals as the line.
But I get what it’s doing. She is trying to portray Vlogger 2 as a reactionary pedant. The sort of person who feels necessary to correct signs that say “10 items or less” at the Supermarket. Saying Furry Friends discriminates against non-furry animals that can be kept as pets. EXCEPT for one important thing.
You are comparing pets to human beings.
Yesterday? My dog got hold of one my shoes. He tore the damn thing to pieces and was super proud of his achievement. It was like “look! I killed the smelly foot beast that eats your foot every morning! Aren’t I awesome!”. I did get a bit mad but then I realised. Tigger’s a dog. Dogs are trained to do stuff by things like operant conditioning. They behave well they get treats, they don’t behave well they get scolded and ignored encouraging them to stick to behaving well.
If one of you came to my house and grabbed my shoe and tore it to bits with your teeth and rolled around in the pieces I would consider you no longer welcome to say the least. I may have harsh language and should you not leave I would be forced to throw you out. Because you are a human being and can understand the difference between the two things. This entire cat is a woman analogy is frankly idiotic because it is acceptable for a cat to shit in a box and eat off the floor while it is not for an adult of any gender, race or sexuality.
3. We need to talk about all kinds of pets, not just your particular pet of choice.
Granted. Except as we all know everyone wants to talk about all kinds of pets but mainly the pets they own. Imagine if you will a normal pet discussion. When someone says “hey, I would like to discuss dogs and cats and fish” people go “okay”. When people wish to discuss their pet gecko? Everyone says “why do you have to make it about lizards!”.
But we arent’ discussing cats over dogs. We are discussing Male dogs versus Female dogs. I am not aware of much in the dog world but in general? Among Humans? White Straight Men have had it easier than those who aren’t that. I am lucky to be 2 out of 3. Racism still exists. And we do have a racist streak within our own Atheism. Let us look at Pat Condell and his followers who are quite happy to bash Muslims and use the “Hindus and Sikhs don’t think we are racist” argument. Well? I think Pat Condell is a racist and I have little love for Islam and I am from a Hindu background. I have specifically pointed out that he supports an organisation that claims not to be racist but keeps doing racist things. I have pointed out that he once claimed the EDL weren’t racist. I have pointed out his open racism against the Roma.
Racism still exists in this day and age and while it may not be the glory days of Apartheid and Jim Crow South, it’s spectre can be still be seen. We fear the goose stepping nazi less than the casual racism of people and their biases. It’s simple. We are both equal. Until we run for a train, then I have to worry about becoming another Charles De Menezes. We are all equal until we stand in line at the airport. We are all equal until the cop pulls us over.
A simple example of inequality that exists? Gaming. If you are White, Male and Straight? Then the insults levelled at you are are the usual “Nigger”, “Jew”, “Fag” and “Cunt”/”Bitch” and your denial consists of you saying that you aren’t one of them. If you are a person of colour you have to endure the racism that affects you to play. You ARE a Nigger/Jew/Fag/Cunt/Bitch because you know that those terms DEFINITELY apply to you.
If you called me a Nigger, I would be upset that you used racist language. I would be a LOT more upset if I was black though. If you called me Paki? I would be upset that you were racist and that you decided to level racism dedicated to my skin colour and ethnicity.
BUT who wants to discuss racism on a blog of atheists?
4. Wouldn’t equality be about people adopting all kinds of pets.
Sure. But see? Having a pet is a personal choice. From the animal to the breed to the gender? All a choice.
Let us take a look at TAM 14… 22 Keynote speakers, 9 women. That’s not bad. Women have gotten a big push in the Skeptical Movement thanks to people making a big fuss. I have a peculiar association with TAM. See? I want to go. I can’t afford it, but it looks like good fun. Maybe one year I will have the cash for it. In fact? In fact? Outside of the Chennai Freethinkers meets (2 of them!), Hebden Bridge (more on that later) will be my second meeting with atheists and skeptics.
I would like to attend some day when I am more free.
I started writing because I saw no ex-Hindus willing to stand up and write and write about Hindu issues. If it wasn’t for someone saying “We need to create a more diverse writer pool” and drop me a fair few major signal boosts, I would be languishing in blogspot hell. It was the same for Jen on her Blag Hag blog. I remember PZ Myers giving her that boost. AND it was the same with Pat Condell whose boost came from Richard Dawkins. We can offer people stepping stones to writing. That’s what a lot of people want. Greater diversity, more ideas and yes, that means some of the people who normally get to speak are going to have to stop in order to give some new people a space to make angry noises.
We have a long way to progress in this regard, but don’t mock it Jaclyn we all had to start small. I hope one day to see more people of colour speaking at events like this, but I know for a fact that day is not today or even tomorrow. And for that, some people will have to not speak and we will have to let new people take the stage. Perhaps we will learn something about other faiths rather than just being experts on Christianity and fools about everything else.
5. We are on the same team, why are you getting offended!
Because sometimes you say offensive things to us. Oh it’s just an Internet troll. Well I have heard the same thing with regards to racism and told ot ignore it because it’s “people trolling to get a response”.
We are offended because we ask politely for certain considerations and have to deal with abuse.
Imagine if you wll, someone saying something blatantly wrong. And you correct them with your knowledge and experience. The correct response would be to go “huh, I didn’t know that. Thanks”. Like these 2 kids who I played a game with a few days ago who learnt that “gay” is insulting when used as a pejorative. When I wrote about Islam, no one read the damn piece but accused me of being a secret Muslim because I was providing a view that was different from the usual one. Never mind the fact that my piece was actually more damning.
When I wrote about Sati in response to someone claiming that the British Raj improved Hindus by banning Sati as a practice and Indeed pointed out that the west fetishise the Japanese honour suicide of Seppuku, I was accussed of being Hindutva (Hindu Fundie). In short? I am offended because atheists often seem to want their ideas and pre-conceptions about any religion or culture outside the USA and Judeo-Christian religion validated rather than corrected.
If the people who accused me of Taqqiyah listened for ONE second they would have realised the same piece contained a review of how Islamic Jurisprudence in Shariah works and would be a great talking point among atheists who argue with Muslim apologists. The same who accused me of Hindutva would have realised I mentioned atheist ideas from 1500 BC and how Hinduism had schools of atheist philosophy too.
Why wouldn’t you get offended, you wrote a piece of work and you get called a liar for that. A white person can be an atheist, he doesn’t have to demonstrate proof. But apparently I am a fake if I say things that correct long held beliefs. Wouldn’t that offend you a little? I have to prove my credentials more than most other atheists because I don’t come from a Judeo-Christian background.
6. Strawman about Cats Being Weak
Women are still discriminated in the USA, half of our fucking movement runs on outrage against religious oppression of women and the usage of state legislative to deny women access to proper healthcare. So it’s a tad idiotic to claim that there is no misogyny when one of the things atheists are infamous for is standing up against religious misogyny. One of the MAJOR points about the atheists out in India is women’s rights too.
And this is without the fact we repeatedly show harmful ideas in our society towards women. Some of them are seriously harmful ideas. You are comparing cats to dogs because you know cats are popular online. Women however are only popular if they give men (and it is some men) the sort of attention they expect. Too demanding and you are fair game for threats of rape, assault and death. No one is sitting around encouraging you to kick cats. There is no A Voice fo Dogs out there which suggests cats are all witch familiars and should be burned at the stake.
I mean this portrays the very real problems women face. That even with al the progress and feminism that slut shaming of rape victims and a minor at that still exists. The analogy breaks down here for two reasons. Firstly? Cats are the most popular animal as pets out there (at least in the UK where 1 in 5 houses apparently has a pet cat) and are treated rather well by most owners. Comparing them to dogs is a bit silly as they are a different species while GLBT, Women and PoC are the same species. The analogy is poor because cats don’t discriminate between each other while humans do.
And the second problem is that we all have things we like to do for fun outside atheism. Why is it such a big deal if women write about feminism or speak about it when I can speak about playing games or making quiche. I just write stuff that I find interesting. Some of it is atheism, some of it is science, some of it is skepticism, some of it is medical, some of it is culture…. And if two atheists disagree with something about culture then its mostly fine. But what if the disagreement is fundamental.
Let us take Pat Condell. The man has claimed that the EDL have a healthy regard for Human Rights, Decency and The Rule of Law.
Yeah so these guys. The same guys who demonstrated their bravery by the assault of pensioners and who made the streets safer by fighting in it.
Now you tell me Jaclyn why the fuck should I have to deal with someone who excuses the actions of people who have persecuted people who look like me? Why should I have to be silent over a man who supports people who have harassed me on the streets before. The man is more popular than my arguably small blog out here. He has a bigger viewership. Richard Dawkins helped create that readership. So I want to know how and why must I get along with this racist? Okay. Let us give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he genuinely had never met anyone who had run afoul of the idiots who wear the flag as a cape while giving Nazi Salutes. That’s okay. Here he was pushing a frankly old piece of racism “Gypsies are Thieves”.
And you tell me that I am not productive by opposing his racism and instead should put aside my fanatic cry for equality and share the same platform?
Why? Why can’t he put away his bigotry? I mean this was a man who ran with the “Ground Zero Mosque” about creeping islamicisation because Muslims wanted to build (quite legally) on a piece of real estate they legally purchased resulting in a bizarre scenario where Muslims cannot build stuff a certain distance away from the Twin Tower sites. Or his shocking lie on Syrian Refugees. What sort of skeptics are we if we let such blatant untruth be bandied around? Surely we hold ourselves to higher values?
See, you have portrayed my anti-racism stance as an irrational take that creates schisms within atheism because I opposed a man who has said these clearly hurtful, incorrect and frankly bigotted things and that the most prominent atheist in atheistdom gave him a serious leg up. And I am told that I shouldn’t correct this because it rocks the boat of atheism.
Why the fuck not? Surely his bullshit is of less value? Oh I know you made a dig at “feminists” but lest we forget, some of us have issues with other atheists because of racism. You want call out culture to stop? But then how are we to correct blatantly harmful ideas within atheism?
7. Sexual Advances and Offence To Cats
The problem with writing this piece is that it is so strawmanny that I don’t know what the fuck the cat is supposed to be. Let us assume in this case it is women. Women are subject to large amounts of sexual advances due to our society making the onus of sexual contact on the man and many of us not realising that women are outnumbered by men.
Nice “black” accent there. Oh I noticed. You sly dog you.
Look I get your argument. Men and women have the same level of oppression yadda yadda yadda. That’s a great fantasy to have. I wish we truly lived in such a world. But the fact is most of us think we are equal until we suddenly hit a glass ceiling. No one else notices it. It’s kind of a personal force field. Okay! Let us say that’s the best we can do as individuals. That this is our level.
Then we take a statistical correlation of levels we achieve and we notice that there are different level medians in different groups. Often for no adequately explained reason. If you haven’t hit the ceiling then you won’t know it exists and simply think that “Here be Monsters”. It is then and only then you realise that women don’t quite get to the same level as men. Want to see a simple example of how differently we treat men and women? When the Cabinet Reshuffle occurred in the UK, the Daily Mail ran with a piece about how female MPs were dressed for their first day of work and didn’t say a word about their achievement, roles and history. I loathe to give the Daily Mail traffic, so here is a better version of what they did done by the Independent.
See, I have never had to work in a place that worried about my shoes matched my shirt. These women could show up in curlers, pyjamas and slippers for all I care, their job is to make decisions and a fairly large paper in the UK decided to go with “MP Dress Up” rather than what counted.
I do have a positive interaction with an MRA on this one. They mentioned the GWW piece on Afghanistan and I responded with my take on it. They said it was too long to read, so I pointed out that they had the time to read the GWW piece but not mine? So they read it.. End result? They don’t think so highly about GWW and indeed the notion that men and women have equal levels of oppression based on gender roles that are rigidly enforced. And he learned why it’s called a Patriarchy. It isn’t women who enforce the roles there, it is men. Maybe he will change. Who knows.
8. You want to be offended by everything so you can be professional victims.
I have been accused of that. Funny thing is? It doesn’t pay so well. Quite honestly. And people have said this when I pointed out racism. I am only outraged because I wish to be a victim… never mind the fact that racism has real casualties.
9. We are on the same team! We want the same things!
Doesn’t mean you get to say harmful, hurtful or downright stupid stuff and get away scott free. Minorities shouldn’t have to adjust with the bigotry of the majority. They can voice their dissatisfaction.
And as I said, me and Pat Condell are on the “same team” of atheism and his racism bleeds into his anti-theist stances. Must I shut up because he is on the same team? Must I let a harmful viewpoint slide? What sort of skeptics are we if we speak about Ground Zero Mosques and 2 million Syrian Refugees invading Sweden when there are just 8000? How are we any different from any of the religions we hold to account for similar hypocrisy?
10. Fight for both!
Sure. Let us take AVfM and me as opposites. I run an addiction clinic for men. I have written articles about why Indian men need to change our “ideals”. FTB hosts Ally Fogg whose writings on modern masculinity are quite nice and much better than my ham fisted amateur attempts. We DO fight for both. It’s just that some of us work in places where women need a bit more fighting than men do and/or you ignore all that other stuff.
11. I used to respect you *tears*
Yeah I did use to respect Dawkins. I have his books. My dad got me the Selfish Gene when I was a kid. I saw his work and thought he was pretty damn awesome. But you know what? He is human. He can err. I liked Hitchens too until that turd of a war in Iraq and his support for it. I can dislike things that these people do. How can I respect someone who has pushed a racist atheist to prominence? How can I respect someone who has used “Dear Muslimah”. And indeed, how can I respect someone who has pushed this very video.
Respect is earned Jaclyn. Dawkins had my respect but he made decisions that have made me question why he deserves to be respected by me. Now if you want to keep taking everything he says sans pinch of salt then it’s your choice. I however have seen that he can err and fail miserably in his choices.
You do realise he isn’t a sacred cow to never be questioned? He is capable of errors. The point of mistakes is how you grow from them. Richard Dawkins lost a fair bit of respect because rather than learn from errors and listen, he furiously doubles down on errors. We all tend to be like that. No one likes being in the wrong.
That’s the end of it. Look, I get your parody. Hurr Hurr! The division between A+ and the rest is like Cats vs. Dogs. It is all fanboyism over stuff that doesn’t really matter. Except that it does matter. There are real bigots out there even within atheism and it alienates people. The choices you make alienate.
An example of a choice I made that alienates? Quite simply? My comments policy. I run a fairly wild west comment policy and you have to be pretty terrible to get banned from commenting. I have had people telling me that they do not post comments for fear of harassment as I don’t ban known harassers on other blogs outright. My rule is that everyone gets a chance. If a long term commentator (let us take an example… Marcus Ranum) breaks the rules I hope I can be as unbiased and give him the same warnings as I gave other rule breakers before their bans. A few people have stated that they don’t participate here because of this open comment policy.
Look it’s kind of simple. I get that you want to mock us. It’s fine. But here is the thing.
Have you actually considered reading what some of us write rather than simply assuming we all write the same thing? This isn’t Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V territory. That some of our requests and commentaries can be listened to? I understand twitter is no medium for commentary and Youtube Comments rank alongside Yahoo Answers for sensible, rational commentary (Sarcasm).
No one is saying we shouldn’t help men or dogs. What we are saying is that women and cats have different issues. I mean, dogs are less likely to get hairballs or stuck up trees while cats are less likely to get parvo.
But this is where the analogy explodes. The bum deal women get is far worse than the bum deal men get. I am expected to be the sort of man Bonnie Tyler sings about. I am expected to hold down a job, be handy around the house, repair cars and fight tigers. I am expected to be gentle enough to hold a baby and also drink from the skulls of my enemies while never shedding a tear unless my pet dog/wolfasaurus rex dies saving me in a Frank Frazetta tableaux. But these expectations and the inability to fulfil them is what weighs men down. If we aren’t all these things society deems us to not be a real man and that causes us harm.
It is easier to fit into these roles and society is more forgiving to us than it is to women who do not fit into theirs. Oh that Avicenna? “He’s an effete fop who won’t do manual labour” is less damaging than Amy being a girl who does manual labour. What I have is the stress of performance. I am judged for my value to society.
Women are judged if they pick trousers over a skirt.
Jaclyn doesn’t get it, her video is itself divisive and indeed creating outrage blogging such as this very piece by portraying her opponents as straw men.
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