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The Foundational Oft-Repeated Fallacies of Sexism Deniers

Lilandra is a username from a little known comic book character.  In real life, I named my children after comic book characters, so my geek credentials cannot be questioned.   My husband is a large biker, cyber-viking ape, that opines about religion, and knows his place in a cladogram.

Lilandra is a username from a little known comic book character. In real life, I named my children after comic book characters, so my geek credentials cannot be questioned. My husband is a large biker, cyber-viking ape, that opines about religion, and knows his place in a cladogram.

9/11 Truthers, Moon Landing Deniers,  Holocaust Deniers, Evolution Deniers, Creationism… It seems controversial ideas are polarizing and can generate extreme views.  Some ideas like the fact that the Earth is spheroid can even generate full-blown conspiracy theories. In fact, there once was a history teacher at my high school that was a flat-earther. This happened during the late 1980′s well after the moon landings. Any picture of the Earth in science and history textbooks pictured it as spheroid. In opposition to stubborn facts, this teacher resolutely decided to spout the same canards to every nail in the coffin that the Earth was flat.  For example he would say that maps were flat, and that proved the Earth was flat.  What about globes you ask?  Government conspiracy!

discworld

[important]

There will at any given moment in time be at least one discussion ongoing about some aspect of the Discworld considered as a physical object. What does it look like? Where did it come from? Does it rotate? What do constellations look like for the people living on it? Where are the continents located? Is there a map of Ankh-Morpork [There is now] ? What are the names of the Elephants [Berilia, Tubul, Great T'Phon and Jerakeen, just in case anyone'd forgotten] ? Is Great A’Tuin male or female? That sort of thing.

Summarising these discussions is useless: nobody ever agrees on anything, anyway, and besides: half the fun is in the discussion itself — who cares if these issues ever get properly ‘resolved’. From The Annotated Pratchett

If only we could discuss our differences with that little animosity. Granted this is a more important difference of opinion, but still. [/important]

Freethinkers are more often than not skeptical thinkers.  Skepticism is a point of pride to the point that we have robust skeptical organizations like the James Randi Educational Foundation.  Who can ever forget when James Randi owned faith healer, televangelist Peter Popoff on national TV?  It was one of the most awesome pieces of pwnage of religious charlatanism most skeptics have ever seen.  Randi managed to record Popoff receiving personal information in an earpiece about the poor ,sick people who were his marks.  He used that info to defraud them that god had revealed to him things he couldn’t possibly know.

[notice]Peter Popoff debunked by James Randi Video[/notice]

 Despite a very public unmasking of this charlatan, who preyed on sick people for money; he still broadcasts to millions of people today. That fact sickens skeptics…

about the villainy of Peter Popoff

But we know from debating creationists and their ilk just how strong cognitive bias is.

Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism

A decent skeptic will take no personal pride that he/she knows better than credulous people in the grip of cognitive bias.  The very best skeptics frequently examine their own thinking for cognitive biases and attempt to disabuse others of harmful biases.

None of this is news to skeptics.  Which is why the quality of the discussion of harassment within the skeptical community is all the more disheartening.  Before Rebecca Watson ever stepped into that fateful elevator, harassment of women at conferences was already a topic of concern.  Yet any discussion of harassment policies to address these concerns gets bogged down in “Elevatorgate” even though Watson herself never characterized what happened as harassment, which is the First Oft-repeated Fallacy of Sexism Deniers

I have collected a number of comments from Thunderf00t’s recent YouTube video “Why “Feminism”(sic) is poisoning atheism”.  The discussion has some pretty good,freshly minted examples of the canards that most people familiar with this discussion have already heard many times. But this first comment is in response to a Slate article Rebecca Watson wrote…

FOFSD #1 -Feminists -especially Rebecca Watson need to get over Elevatorgate

ou812

How does a polite invitation to coffee equate to the “objectification of women as sex objects”? Even assuming he was interested in sex, Elevator Guy did exactly what feminists have been asking for: he took no for an answer. Get over it, Rebecca.

and…

yutt

It is amazing that no matter how many times she tells the elevator story, she never comes across as the victim she thinks she is. A male was interested in her and wanted to have sex. How horrible!

I guess some people can’t emotionally escape Puritanism no matter how far they think they’ve run intellectually.

From Slate “It Stands to Reason, Skeptics Can Be Sexist Too” by Rebecca Watson.

But again, I don’t need to. There’s enough evidence floating around the internet. For instance, “Some guy HIT ON ME! He asked me to come back to his room. WHAT A SEXIST!!” <–That’s not total bullshit? I don’t even need to bring up half of it. The vid does a good job of it and I’m shocked that you, who’s “sooo intelligent” didn’t catch what I was implying. Also, I didn’t expect special treatment. You’re an idiot. I love how your description of it is senseless.

And lol, you’re pretty angry. “XD”

Above comment from YouTube “Why “Feminism” is poisoning the skeptical community”. Part 1 by Thunderf00t

Ironically the widespread fallacy that Watson misunderstood this incident as harassment is a misunderstanding. She simply felt uncomfortable about being asked to someone’s hotel room for coffee by a stranger in an elevator.  To make matters worse this one incident is used as an example to make the spectrum of harassment at conferences look inconsequential. Discussion of harassment in the skeptical community is often derailed to recount this incident in laborious detail.

FOFSD #2 -Rebecca Watson/Skepchick is a silly, misandric(sic), “feminist” who owes allegiance to a Hitler-like Supremacist!

Too bad. The Skepchick lady isn’t a feminist, she’s a misandric professional victim. Feminism was about equality, never about “women’s supremacy”.

and this one got 29 thumbs up votes…

Just want to put it out there…

Before all this nonsense? I was a feminist. I really was – I was a 110% feminist and all for women’s rights.

Thanks to Skepchick and her drama, I am no longer feminist, and I’m actually a little embarrassed that I ever was.

Above comments from YouTube “Why “Feminism” is poisoning the skeptical community”. Part 1 by Thunderf00t

These are spot light fallacies.  Even if Watson’s personal ideology was to put men in concentration camps, (which it isn’t) she isn’t an archetypal feminist.  You’d be hard pressed to pick one person that embodied everything that feminism is in the flesh.  Ideas like feminism should be judged on merit not on whether you dislike the person espousing them.

FOFSD #3(managed to combine more than one FOFSD in one comment) this has nothing to do with atheism. Everyone needs to grow up, and the semi-related and equally dismissive accusations that the discussion is attention-whoring and DRAMA!

What has ANY of this got to do with Atheism? Just because people of the opposite sex come into contact with each other, one or two might have sexist tendencies (regardless of your genitalia) and that automatically means it’s their common interests fault?

Fuck me I hate people… Grow the FUCK up people, build a bridge, get the fuck over it and stop generalising, stop making massive leaps to make your own ridiculous conclusions to push some stupid PC agenda! You are wasting AIR….

EonRifft                21 hours ago             

Oh, wait, they think the internet is unimportant and youtube comments have no worth but they censor them and even refuse to let things be rated? Now I am no vulcan grandmaster, but this does not sound especially logical to me.

Conferences need to dump these placating standards they call anti-harassment rules as it just damages the atheist community in order to protect people from non-existent things.

These people need to be ignored as they are just attention whores bent on hijacking atheism.

Above comments from YouTube “Why “Feminism” is poisoning the skeptical community”. Part 1 by Thunderf00t

These are a combination of fallacies that dismiss the discussion of harassment policies at the outset as being unworthy, and unrelated to the atheist community. As if there is a true atheist, that only discusses dictionary atheism.  The irony is missed here by the commenters because they are in effect restricting what is discussed by the atheist community. There is also the implication that people that discuss harassment are immature, and merely looking for attention and don’t have a substantive case.

FOFSD #4 -There is no Patriarchy.

No, Patriarchy theory says that society is built and run by men expressly FOR the needs, wants and desires of men, expressly at the COST of the needs, wants and desires of women. Even though evidence that contradicts that is very often censored, and it flies in the face of male and female psychology. Patriarchy theory most definitely suggests a deep misogyny permeating society at it’s core, and that is just complete bollocks.

in response to this comment that was actually down voted…

You’re thinking of misogyny, not patriarchy. Perhaps if you bothered to learn what these terms actually mean, you wouldn’t be making confused arguments.

Above comments from YouTube “Why “Feminism” is poisoning the skeptical community”. Part 1 by Thunderf00t

It is the ubiquitous Straw Man fallacy. The commenter ignores the actual argument and substitutes with a position that is distorted, misrepresented caricature that is easier to defeat. Yes the “Patriarchy theory” that this commenter describes doesn’t exist to the extent the person describes it to.  Patriarchy is an idea that is hotly contested by sexism deniers.  It really isn’t that controversial.  We live in a male dominated society led by males for the most part. Men and women are commonly socialized differently according to traditional and often religious beliefs.

FOFSD #5 -”Feminazis” are angry, crazy “cunts”,who can’t get “fucked” and need to GTFO because FREE SPEECH!

symnzXx                1 day ago             

HOLD THE FUCK ON.. 7:33 your freedom of speech “ends the second that someone who hears that speech is affected”?? what the fuck are you talking about you crazy cunt? the reason we even have something in writing saying essentially “NOBODY SHOULD BE ABLE TO STOP YOU FROM SAYING THINGS” is almost specifically to protect things that are unpopular or may offend people. these bitches are out of line in the worst fucking way.. shit has to stop  (21 Thumbs ups!)

Pluto Nash                1 day ago             

The only reason feminists are so angry is because they are all hideous and no one wants to fuck them.

Jshect                1 day ago             

Oh my gosh, pause the video at 4:27 and read the whole harrassment policy. If you showed that to someone and didn’t tell them what event it was for they would think it was a meeting of sex crazed, delinquint, ex-convicts not a free thought rally. I don’t think the words free thought conference and sexualized environmnet quite belong in the same paragraph. This isn’t a XXX porn convention. This is a meeting of mostly highly educated civilized people. Femanazi go away!!

Above comments from YouTube “Why “Feminism” is poisoning the skeptical community”. Part 1 by Thunderf00t

These comments address the people who bring up harassment policies or feminism with ridicule rather than a counter argument. The commenters haven’t done their homework on harassment issues, and dismiss the person making the argument instead.

The fallacies I have listed are in no way a complete list of all of the fallacious reasoning that is used to deny that sexism or harassment occurs in the skeptical community or the discussion of harassment policies.  I am sure other veterans of this argument can come up with other easily identifiable fallacies that prevent the actual topic from being discussed meaningfully in a lot of our community’s forums. To the credit of most of our community’s organizers, they have adopted reasonable harassment policies and codes of conduct.  A few of the points in these have sparked disagreement, because most skeptics thrive on questioning things.  Disagreement is not the problem in and of itself except if there is fallacious reasoning or tactics at the heart of it.

The same fallacies have been parroted in this argument so many times that parodies or Poes are starting to enter the discussions. Trigger warnings for offensive language apply…

Bardlettt                5 hours ago             

LOL whatever, mangina. You’re just trying to limit my free speech against these whores like Rebecca Watson because you’re pussy whipped! Get out of our atheism, bitch!

and…

Bardlettt                6 hours ago             

Yeah, I agree TF! All these nigger and kike whores trying to turn our conferences into their liberal bullshit orgies. WE NEED TO SPEAK OUT AND STOP THEM! Fake jewelry? Is that really in an official conference harassment policy? We must demonstrate before these fucking stupid, non secular sluts take over our atheism! GO TF!

Above comments from YouTube “Why “Feminism” is poisoning the skeptical community”. Part 2 by Thunderf00t

Even though these comments are anonymous YouTube users for the most part, these sentiments have been echoed by others in other forums.  I have left out fallacious comments from known skeptics and atheists on purpose, so as to not get bogged down in personal bickering.  So that no one assumes that these are not representative of the discussion of Thunderf00t’s video, many of the comments chosen have been thumbed up at least 20 times.  Also, this is the top comment the very hour that I am posting this…

John E 5 hours ago

The only females (or males) who can’t cope with the grab-ass and flirty games that go on amongst men and women, and deal with it in a sensible proportionate manner, are children. Seriously, why is this shit a massive issue in America? In my home country, and my current country of residence, nobody gives a fuck, because there’s nothing to give a fuck about. From an outside view it just looks pathetic, and I understand TF’s frustration.

Can you spot several easily identifiable logical fallacies?
For anyone reading this, who disagrees that sexism is still an issue for some in our communities or even that simply harassment policies are wrong, I want to leave you with a challenge.  I recently challenged a friend who is a prominent atheist in the discussion with this as well.  Do you really want to be arguing for the status quo of boys will be boys or people should be thicker skinned to sexist comments, or any other of the dodges we have been taught to ignore sexism? As atheism grows we are becoming more diverse, and these conflicts will arise where traditionally held ideas come in to contact with progressive ideas.My position on harassment policies has evolved over time through discussion. Even though I have personally never been harassed at a conference, why should I be laissez faire or dismiss other people’s genuine feeling of discomfort or genuine abuse? Why should you? And one final thought just like progress in science is most often not achieved by defending the status quo, why be a roadblock to progress?

Comments

  1. says

    One of my favorite fallacies regarding the anti-harassment policies is one that TF embraced in his first (or maybe second?) post here: The idiotic idea that these policies somehow “outlaw” or “ban” flirting or sexual interaction of any kind at the conferences that have adopted them. Look, even (or I should say, *especially*) conferences for kinksters and BDSM-ers have explicitly delineated harassment policies. Because it is all too easy, in a sexually charged atmosphere, for some people to step across the boundaries of others and cloak themselves in “misunderstandings” and claim their victim is “just being sensitive.”

    Flirting is a mutual activity engaged in by two or more people. Harassment is persistent, unwanted attention directed at one person after that person has asked for it to stop (and/or attempted to remove themselves from the situation). If people are worried that their style of “flirting” will get them reported at a conference as a harasser, I have to assume that they know nothing whatsoever about flirting or personal boundaries, and furthermore don’t care, because their need for a sexual thrill is more important than the comfort of others.

    • Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

      I’ve avoided the whole fight, but pretty much your 2nd paragraph. An anti-harassment policy protects everyone concerned, and doesn’t stop people from flirting or hooking up if they’re that way inclined (I work for a multinational with quite a young staff – we have policies like this, strictly enforced, but that doesn’t stop folks from jumping into bed with each other.).

      Harassment of any sort, forget sexual, should be guarded against, and any policies could be written to be non-specific.

      I have no idea what the problem is. No “free speech” or any other rights are being curtailed. I don’t get people sometimes.

  2. says

    I agree, akestra: anyone who is sincerely confused about the line between consensual flirting and harassment should refrain from flirting until they clear up their confusion.

    Ironically, Rebecca Watson’s remark is really more advice to people who ARE genuinely confused than anything else. Like, if you’re wondering whether cornering someone in an elevator is a good way to get your swerve on, here’s a hint: it’s not. Those who throw a hissy fit over “Guys, don’t do that” are revealing that they don’t actually WANT to have productive, friendly relationships with individual women–what they want is the freedom to continue getting a thrill out of exerting power over them.

  3. Rodney Nelson says

    Another common fallacy, one which ThunderfOOt used in his FTB posts, is “I don’t consider sexism to be a problem, therefore it isn’t a problem for anyone!”

    • douglas1102 says

      Your example is stating opinion as fact…

      “I don’t consider water to be wet, therefore water isn’t wet”

      However opinion can be true.

      “I consider water to bet wet therefore water is wet”

      The point is that he’s offered no evidence… he’s just stating opinion.

      His real argument is saying that having harassment policies will “scare women away” based on no evidence whatsoever, just a silly “microwaving babies” hypothetical. If he could actually show an example of someone scared away because of these policies his argument would be valid but that isn’t the case.

      He doesn’t stop there either… he ignores evidence the policies would help. <— cherry picking

      He's just an asshole that doesn't care about a more diverse crowd at TAM, he'd rather it be filled with assholes that have an unmitigated right troll women about getting raped and that's what it comes down to.

      Do organizers want to see a more diverse and increased attendance or do they want to protect the rights of assholes that want to troll people out of going to meetings?

      Clearly he doesn't care about the success of TAM, he might as well argue the right of KKK members to wear their sheets at meetings and if that lowers attendance then so what?

      Who the hell promotes these events anyway? I honestly can't think of anywhere else this would be an issue.

      Do any of these promoters have any experience promoting events outside of TAM?

  4. A Hermit says

    Excellent overview of the problem here. I keep saying these people remind me of the Holocaust deniers I occasionally tangle with; they have their own set of “facts” and no amount of evidence will shake them. They call themselves “skeptics” too, and insist that they are just being properly cautious.

    On the other hand, the Moon landings were definitely faked, and I have PHOTOGENIC PROOF!!11!!1

    http://stuffucanuse.com/fake_moon_landings/moon_landings.htm

    • Ray N says

      I just want to iterate…uh…re-iterate…uh…repeat what you just said. She does make some salient points about these things, especially the point about sexism being an issue ‘before’ Rebecca Watson’s elevator thing. It’s been almost a non-issue, sexism at conferences, for me, as I have never and probably won’t ever attend unless I can rustle up the required funds to pay for it. But I am disappointed in this divisiveness and polarization. If Feminism is seen as ideology that ought to be removed from atheism/freethinker conferences, I can only say WTF? Since when should ideas against sexism(male and female), misogyny, misandry(believe it or not Feminism addresses it as well, it’s prominence isn’t so obvious as misogyny)inequality, and general gender disrespect that hits mostly women since it IS a male dominated society for ill or nil. If any group was going to do something about these types of issues one would hope it would have been atheists/freethinkers, sadly though we, as a group appear to be no different than theist whose sects number in the tens of thousands as they can’t agree on their god differences, and hence split off into theists-PLUS type groups, or Xian sects.
      Theists are laughing at Atheists/Freethinkers everywhere, saying, ‘see those godless people, how mixed up they are?’
      Anyway, lilandra, like ant, I say, Nice post.

  5. says

    The one that I think is most illuminating is from “Jshect” – ‘this couldn’t be a real problem because it’s not like we’re a bunch of sex-crazed perverts. We’re CIVILIZED!”

    I feel like an entire master’s psych dissertation could be written on the sheer number of things going on in that one sentiment.

  6. says

    Jeez- what a bunch of cockroaches. I would say the logical fallacy here is lack of empathy, pure and simple. Anyone with an ounce of feeling for other people completely gets it with feminism.

    • mrbp says

      Actually you are wrong. Feminism isn’t a universal, undisputed moral consensus like an objection to slavery or infanticide.

      It is a political ideology based on disputed hypotheses and plenty of empathetic, compassionate humanists disagree with what feminists are trying to do. You cannot write us all of as unfeeling beasts.

      I understand that Watson was made to feel uncomfortable by one man’s clumsy approach and it’s best that we try not to make each other feel uncomfortable but finding someone attractive and letting them know -no matter how clumsily- is not sexism and shouldn’t need to be combated.

      I have no problem with Watson saying she felt uncomfortable and I take no issue with feminists calling the police whenever anyone is harassed, abused or god forbid raped but they are trying to legislate against being offended, made to feel uncomfortable or being “objectified” which is a step to far.

      • Stacy says

        “but they are trying to legislate against being offended, made to feel uncomfortable or being “objectified” which is a step to far”

        Harassment policies are not legislation.

      • murci3lag0 says

        I don’t understand why people waste time arguing with this sexists, if they don’t like the anti harassment policies, they are welcome to not show up at those conferences promoted by a community to which they don’t belong to. Nobody should care if a selfish guy doesn’t have a developed sense of empathy.

  7. Jay says

    Are you sure your flat earth high school teacher wasn’t pulling your leg?

    I find it easier to believe from what you have written here,

    “In opposition to stubborn facts, this teacher resolutely decided to spout the same canards to every nail in the coffin that the Earth was flat. For example he would say that maps were flat, and that proved the Earth was flat. What about globes you ask? Government conspiracy!”

    that your teacher wasn’t pranking you. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The claim that in the 80s there was a history teacher who was a flat earther seems extraordinary.

    Are you sure he wasn’t pulling your leg?

    • says

      I am going to be charitable with you, and assume you are not a person that no amount of evidence will satisfy you. You may have missed the link in the 1st paragraph to The Flat Earth Society. Yes even in 2013, people can and do deny any evidence that the Earth is spheroid. So it is not an extraordinary claim that I had a teacher in my high school that denied this in the 1980s. The point of telling that story is that there are people that suffer from cognitive bias. There is no reason for me to misrepresent it.

    • says

      You’re a sceptic? If so you know there are no depths of belief anyone can go to… I’m more amazed that the creationists are not also flat-earthers given the Bible pretty much says so.

  8. Helmi says

    I’ve noticed this as well.

    Whenever I look at the comments section of a video related to feminism to get an idea of why people disagree with it, I notice that almost 100% of the comments are composed of fallacies and falsehoods – entirely. They almost never respond to the content of the video, and instead make baseless assertions about what feminism REALLY is, or about what individual feminists REALLY think, or just go for a complete red herring and repeat one of countless lies about Rebecca Watson.

    I swear these guys are as obsessed with Rebecca Watson as creationists are with Darwin.

    “So here we see the fossil evidence which conclusively proves..”
    “Darwin converted on his death bed! He just made up evolution because he was mad at God!”

    “This portrayal of banning policies is completely inaccurate because..”
    “Rebecca Watson thinks that being asked to have some coffee is harassment!”

    It really reminds me of when you explain to a theist why you lack belief in any gods at all, and they ask “Why do you hate Yahweh?”. They just talk past you, living in their own fantasy world, arguing against a fantasy version of yourself.

    For an example of all of this, look at any video on Matt Dillahunty’s YouTube channel, and (if you dare) scroll down to the comments.

    • mrbp says

      I’m down with feminism if feminism means equality between genders but if feminism means campaigning to shield women -like delicate flowers- away from potential offence or god forbid being “sexualised” by pressuring men to tread on egg shells and organisers of conferences to write up strict codes of conduct then I’m not.

      There are laws against sexual abuse and harassment so why all the brouhaha as if we needed another level of legislation to protect women from the masculine monster?

      I notice how many of you write off your critics as merely a bunch of either misogynists or just a tiny minority of unwashed youtube trolls who “just don’t get it” but if you where honest you would agree that there is a legitimate difference of opinion and many responsible, educated, compassionate commentators -both male and female- who happen to disagree with you.

      • says

        The comments in the OP are par for the course in the discussion of TF’s video. Many of them were up-voted. I also posted the top comment as of posting this blog. Unless you think the thousands of comments are all trolls. You yourself have posted many strawmen in this discussion demonstrating that you are none of the things you say that people that have a legitimate differences of opinion are. Are you going to present a legitimate argument or continue to accuse people here of being terrified of imagined fears?

  9. mofa says

    Rebecca Watson only speaks for herself. We all understand Rebecca that you felt uncomfortable in the elevator that night in Dublin and I am pretty sure that any man or woman who knows of you is not going to (when in an elevator with you) invite you for coffee, at any time of the day, any time soon. But Rebecca, what you think is or is not appropriate is only your own personal opinion. You do not represent all women on this planet. You do not represent all athiest women. You do not even represent all feminist/atheist women. So a word to the wise Rebecca, don’t go telling all men in the atheist/skeptic community when and where they can and can’t communicate with another human being…unless that human being is you.

    • A Hermit says

      I would give the same advice to my fellow men. Don’t proposition a woman who doesn’t know you in an elevator at 4AM.

      For that matter, don’t ask a strange man in an elevator at 4AM to give you money. Same principle applies.

      It’s the kind of environment that makes people feel very vulnerable and you’re more likely to get a kick in the balls than a date or a loan.

      You don’t have to pay attention to that advice. But I think it’s good advice…

      • mrbp says

        I agree on the whole it is good advice but not always. Some women do not feel that way, some women would find it even more exciting to meet a total stranger on the spur of the moment after drinks at 4am in the morning. Different strokes for different folks hey!

        • says

          “Spur of the moment” is one thing. In a situation that has a high likelihood of someone feeling vulnerable and concerned for their safety is another.
          Yes, some women may not be much concerned about situations like that. Different people have different levels of concern for risk. Rebecca Watson didn’t make much of it, for instance. She just later gave that as an example of something that is likely to cause women, in particular, to be uncomfortable and less likely to feel like coming to such events. If you care about more women coming to events, or just not being creeped out around you generally, maybe you should avoid doing things like that.
          I think A Hermit already explained that pretty well. I don’t see what’s so difficult to understand. Sure, you could simply not care about women’s feelings, or the rate of attendance at events. That’s your choice to make, whether to empathize with others and care about the movement as a whole.

          • mrbp says

            I have already agreed that as a rule of thumb it’s probably best not to proposition a woman you don’t know in that situation. I was just pointing out that that isn’t always the case, it wasn’t sexism in action, it is not somehow evidence of a wider misogynistic culture in the sceptic community and women don’t need protecting from clumsy propositions.

            I don’t see why that is so difficult to understand about that?

            PS: Who said I didn’t empathise with Rebecca’s feelings. Just because I don’t think it is sexism and in need of legislating against doesn’t mean I am an unfeeling beast.

    • murderface says

      True – Rebecca WAS speaking only for herself. She’s never claimed to be speaking for every woman/feminist/whatever other category you have a problem with. It is, ironically, the people who have been lambasting and insulting and abusing Rebecca ever since “guys, don’t do that” that have made these claims on her behalf. All she did was request that people don’t hit on her at 4am in an elevator AFTER (here’s the bit a lot of people seem to conveniently forget) she’s said that she’s calling it a night and AFTER she’s said publicly, the same day, that she doens’t appreciate come-ons at conferences. But here’s an exercise for you, O model skeptic: if you think propositioning someone in a confined, locked space close to dawn is appropriate behaviour, go ahead and try it out and let us know how you fare.

      Here’s a word to the wise for you – you mightn’t have noticed that Rebecca didn’t write this post, Lilandra did. I suggest if you want to address Rebecca Watson personally that you find her site and do so there.

    • Douglas1102 says

      I’m so tired of listening to this…

      I’m a man… not a small one either. I have a job similar to pubic speakers where I could end up in a similar situation. If i were mingling with attendees in a bar and someone in the bar whom I had not talked to before had followed me into an elevator to invite me to his room at 4am for “coffee” I would be likely be freaked right out and rightfully so even if it were a woman. It would freak anyone out… especially a public figure and it would freak you out too.

      The way to meet strangers isn’t to corner them alone and then invite them to be even more alone. Usually that’s the way to rob ignorant fools.

      She’s not “speaking for herself” at all, she’s speaking for almost everyone. This case especially because unless you suffer from some terminal naivety “coffee” meant sex.

      I’ve really had enough of people acting like this is normal behavior that should be free from criticism… it’s sickening how many men put on poker-faces and act like they don’t get it. You know damn well this is creepy behavior.

      Just look at all this crap…

      “Rebecca Watson only speaks for herself. We all understand Rebecca that you felt uncomfortable in the elevator that night in Dublin and I am pretty sure that any man or woman who knows of you is not going to (when in an elevator with you) invite you for coffee, at any time of the day, any time soon. But Rebecca, what you think is or is not appropriate is only your own personal opinion. You do not represent all women on this planet. You do not represent all athiest women. You do not even represent all feminist/atheist women. So a word to the wise Rebecca, don’t go telling all men in the atheist/skeptic community when and where they can and can’t communicate with another human being…unless that human being is you.”

      You could say this is a straw-man and that RW never claimed to speak for all women but that’s not even what this is… this is pure hatred.

      Does anyone really think he’s genuinely trying to argue that RW “doesn’t speak for women”

  10. Tan says

    I agree with everything here; you are an incredibly intelligent woman. I have one query; is it really true that making ‘fake jewellery’ is deemed as ‘harassment’ or that the t shirt one lady was wearing was deemed ‘harassment’ by one Amy Roth? I tried to look into it to see if TF’s claims held water but could only find supporting evidence. I admit that these claims from certain people do come across as ludicrous. I consider myself a feminist, but although I respect these ladies points of view and consider them fully justified (we can’t tell people how to feel) there is some small part of me that wants to eye roll, just a little.

    I think as a feminist we can say that they are justified, but that our own standards for behaviour are a little more lenient? I don’t think someone putting their view on their shirt is mean and nasty and anti-feminist or indeed harassment. I don’t think making jewellery is harassment. I have a lot of empathy for men when they approach a girl…I think it’s fair she felt the way she did, but I also think she could have been more empathetic. The guy was probably nervous and didn’t want an audience to a possible humiliation. That’s the likely reason for it. Sometimes you have to meet halfway. It’s also ridiculous to see female-body part based slang words being frowned upon (I’ve seen it here among other places) yet the male-body part based slang being employed not only in comments but in blogs etc. I think if we are all honest, we have to admit that TF did make that one point!

    *i apologise if I’ve based this on untrue assertions. I am aware of TF’s truth problems but my attempts to unearth the truth behind it was murky and confused. Far too much time and space has been expended on this!

    • says

      Are you aware that the jewelry displayed insulting slogans to mock Amy? I don’t agree with her trying to ban the jewelery, but she thought better of that later. You have empathy for guys, who approach women, but not for Amy after all the women she had helped to go to TAM?

    • says

      I don’t think making jewellery is harassment.

      I think your objection is a bit backwards.

      Slicing someone open with a knife isn’t murder, but one can murder by slicing someone open with a knife. Or it could be a doctor performing surgery.

      Conceptually, someone was being harassed, and the tool was via fake jewelry or shirts that targeted that person.

    • mrbp says

      Wonderful level headed post Tan. Bravo.

      Jasper if you can equate someone satirising someone else with someone slicing a person open with a knife I would have to say you are emphatically anti free speech and anti free thought.

      • says

        Your objection is nonsensical.

        Analogies are typically for helping someone understand a point by connecting the concept to something else they already understand. That does not, however, mean that everything else about the comparison also applied. Seriously, this isn’t difficult or complicated.

        It’s like I said “Fred is fast like a Cheetah”, and your equivalent objection would have been “Fred doesn’t run around on the plains of Africa with bad breath! And to make that comparison is to show that you hate Fred and don’t know anything about him!”

        My point was merely to address the difference between a tool being an act, and an act being done with a tool.

        That is why your comment that my analogy indicates that I am “emphatically anti free speech and anti free thought” is nothing short of sheer unfettered stupidity, borne of someone who is more interested in manufacturing controversy than having a rational discussion.

  11. says

    Tan

    I have one query; is it really true that making ‘fake jewellery’ is deemed as ‘harassment’ or that the t shirt one lady was wearing was deemed ‘harassment’ by one Amy Roth?

    I don’t know how much acquainted you are with the backstories (and that’s where TF easily scores, because those things are complex to explain but easy to dismiss)
    The T-shirt in question said “I feel safe and welcome at TAM, just a skeptic, not a skepchick”.
    Now that in itself doesn’t sound too problematic, but it becomes problematic once you know that DJ Grothe engaged in blaming Rebecca Watson personally for lower female attendance at TAM and that Ophelia Benson resigned from TAM after she got threatening e-mails and no support (the fact that they later turned out to be harmless is really not important. If I point a gun at you and you believe it’s a real one your fear won’t be any less if it is actually a fake one), so this shirt dismisses their concerns and points the blame at Skepchicks.
    You might still say that this is just an asshole move, but Harriet Hall (the woman wearing it) knew how much it bothered, hurt and othered Amy Roth who was being harassed in multiple ways at that conference
    Same as the “fake jewellery”. Nobody said it would never ever be OK to make ceramic necklaces. This was about things that were especially made to hurt Amy.
    So, in context we’re not talking about “T-shirts and jewellery” but about two behaviours whose aim was to hurt Amy and make her feel uncomfortable and unwelcome, that’s why it can be very reasonably qualified as harassment.

    +++
    It will be a good day for everybody when mofa discovers sociology and psychology.

    • mrbp says

      So you believe that we need to legislate against offence? What if I find something a feminist says offensive whilst that person is espousing their feminist views. Would I have the right to seek a ban on that feminists speech?

      Anyway the fake jewellery and t-shirt issues were satirising the idea that atheist conventions are a hot bed of sexual predators and misogynists, they were not attacking anyone personally so not only is your view anti free speech it is quite simply wrong.

      • says

        Where are you getting this idea that people want things legislated. As far as I know the SCA is busy lobbying Congress about things like separation of church and state, but expanded laws against harassment isn’t being brought up.

        If someone is being an ass and harassing people, the rest of us should be criticizing them for it. And it is also well within the rights of an event organizer/organization to make a policy that they want their attendees to feel welcome and not harassed.

        You seem to be conflating highly offensive things like slurs, and outright harassment, with any minor bit of offense.
        There is a whole lot of room for rational, civil, reasonable discussion and disagreement without having to resort to harassment and slurs. It’s not satire any more when you’re taking it to the level of harassment. Not that I see how copying someone’s artwork to make attacks against her, and others’ opinions, is satire, exactly. It wasn’t Amy’s art that was spreading ideas of conventions being hot beds of sexual predators and misogynists. (For that matter, I haven’t seen Amy or other Skepchicks or anyone else saying that in any other format.)

        • mrbp says

          Satirising a cause and mentioning it’s advocates in your satire is not harassment.

          It is not me who is conflating minor offence with serious harassment it is those of you who advocate policies to stop people mentioning Skepchiks in their satire who are doing that.

          I don’t see what is so difficult to understand about that!

  12. mofa says

    Ms Hall was simply saying that she was a skeptic, just like everyone else at the conference. And the fact that she is female and the person next to her is male is irrelevant. All patrons of the conference are equal and their gender is of no importance. There are no ‘female skeptics’ (though there are females who are skeptics) and there are no ‘male skeptics’ (though there are males who are skeptics), there are only ‘skeptics’ in Ms Halls
    eyes. And Ms Hall felt safe amoungst her skeptical friends, colleagues, acquaintances and strangers with like minds. And I believe she was sincere. Those who can’t see this have other fish to fry.

    • MasterDarksol says

      “Ms Hall was simply saying that she was a skeptic, just like everyone else at the conference. And the fact that she is female and the person next to her is male is irrelevant. All patrons of the conference are equal and their gender is of no importance.”

      Such a message does not require any mention of Skepchicks. The reference to Skepchicks was a specific dig aimed at specific individuals. Those who can’t see this have other fish to fry.

      • mofa says

        Didn’t realise that having ‘a dig’, as you put it, was such a crime! Skepchicks is just a podcast. Skepchicks are just a few individuals at a conference. Why are you placing so much importance on the individuals associated with this small podcast, as if they represented all of female kind. They don’t. The skepchicks individuals concerned in this matter are only quasi-personalities who write blogs, speak into a microphone at some events and on a podcast and make cheap jewellry. Ms Hall has a Phd and I am confident bis a very intelligent individual who has the freedom to make what ever political statement she wishes. and if this political statement is delivered with ‘a dig’ in it , top marks to Dr Hall…she has a sense of humour!

        • MasterDarksol says

          Giliell’s argument @14 (that you appeared to be replying to) was that the shirt (among other things) created an uncomfortable and unwelcoming environment for Amy Roth.

          Your apparent response was to defend the shirt as “Ms Hall was simply saying that she was a skeptic, just like everyone else at the conference. And the fact that she is female and the person next to her is male is irrelevant.”

          I and Murderface have pointed out to you that you missed the point in that the shirt did specify Skepchicks, of which Amy Roth is one. This would add to an unwelcoming environment for her.

          Now you’re shifting goals from ‘it’s not harassment’ to ‘free speech!’ as if one’s freedom and ability to say whatever one wants immediately negates the possibility of any kind of harassment. Also, I find it telling that you minimize Amy’s negative experience when it comes to addressing the validity of her concerns, but then refer to Dr Hall’s singling out Skepchicks as “political” instead of as a snipe against individuals. Have your cake and eat it too, I guess?

          • Ray N says

            Good points. As someone who has never been to any of these conferences, I stand outside looking in(not that that makes me more perceptive or have a greater insight, I’m just saying). Dr Hall is perhaps distancing herself from a skeptic group that has become so dominant to the point where a few may think they(Skepchicks, which is odd, cuz, I’m a man, BTW and historically I’ve commented of that blog and feel I’m a part of that site in a way) are representative of all female skeptics. Not knowing either Amy or Dr Hall, I can’t know if it was a personal ‘dig’ at Amy or not, maybe a little, but again, maybe it was distancing, as I said. Feminists like any human group are not a monolith, but are a diverse group, and one would only hope that in the same way atheists have dumped the injustices of Xianity and the Xian bible and therefore are FOR social justice as a given, which would indicate fairness to all, that atheism doesn’t belong to a particular group, but the individual(Feminists in this case)groups CAN be a part of the makeup of atheism/freethinking as well(it will[and should be]whether we like it or not).
            I’m perturbed at the divisiveness and fingerpointing, and that some(see the racist rant in one of the comments in the article that thinks atheists should only include shitheads like their racist ass)think they belong while others do not. Let’s see…that’s a clique, right? I don’t want to be in a clique.
            I hope all this can be worked out, apologies given where needed, and understanding all around.

          • mrbp says

            MasterDarksol if the Skepchick/Atheist+/FreeThoughtBlog crowd satirised DJ Grothe, Richard Dawkins or Thunderfoot at a conference that any one of them were at would that be harassment or a legitimate application of free speech?

          • mofa says

            Dr Hall making a personal and political statement on her T-shirt is not in any way harassment. If Amy Davis Roth is going to get herself involved in gender politics she has to expect to receive opposition to her position, beliefs, claims and statements on occassions. It comes with the territory. You don’t go and cry if someone disagrees with your position in politics…well I haven’t seen Obama do that yet.

          • MasterDarksol says

            mrbp: You know it can be both, right? That just because it’s free speech doesn’t mean that it is NOT harassment? Dr Hall has the legal right to say what she wants, and were she under arrest, I’d be right next to you defending that right. …but you do know that freedom of speech does not grant you freedom from criticism, right? That just because one CAN say something doesn’t mean one should?

            mofa: Now you’re comparing Amy Roth to Obama. I thought she was insignificant and barely worthy of notice? Make up your mind.

          • mrbp says

            So you would support conference organisers banning or removing any person engaging in satire or vocal opposition to Dawkins, Shermer, Grothe or Thunderfoot at any conference where they are in attendance?

          • mrbp says

            PS: Dr Hall’s t-shirt can only be classed as harassment if you believe that an non-threatening statement of her feelings about a certain issue linked to the online pseudonym of the proponents of said issue is wrong. That could only be believed to be harassment by someone who believes that disagreement is offensive and out of bounds. Which if you are honest is what you believe on this subject.

          • Douglas1102 says

            I’m surprised the promoters allow this sort of thing, seems to me ticket sales and attendance should outweigh your right to slam someone that’s promoting your same event, it seems obviously self defeating to me.

            Music venues and comedy clubs would never tolerate this sort of thing and I can’t think of any place that would.

            I can’t say I know anything about organizing TAM events but I’ve helped organize many music events and that’s my take on the situation.

    • murderface says

      _Dr_ Hall was engaging in a deliberate snipe at the Skepchick crew, as a direct response to Rebecca Watson’s (and others’) stance on conference harassment policies.

      Dr Hall had a choice to wear a completely neutral “skeptic” t-shirt or something with no words on it whatsoever, but she instead chose to wear one specifically distancing herself from the Skepchicks and those who had voiced disagreement with DJ Grothe’s behaviour.

      If all you saw, given the lead-up to that conference, was a woman wearing a harmless t-shirt, you’re very obtuse, wading into the discussion without any background information at all or you’re wilfully ignoring pertinent facts.

      • mrbp says

        “_Dr_ Hall was engaging in a deliberate snipe at the Skepchick crew, as a direct response to Rebecca Watson’s (and others’) stance on conference harassment policies.”

        Which is a legitimate application of free speech. If you disagree with something someone else is a vocal advocate of and you mention those vocal advocates that is free speech not harassment.

        It’s this hyper-sensitivity and willingness _and ability- to close down debate which is making so many people angry. It is not that we “don’t get it” or that we are misogynists it’s that it rubs people up the wrong way when we are told we have to agree or shut up.

        • says

          Criticizing Dr. Hall for wearing the shirt, and continuing to wear it multiple days after it has been brought up that she’s adding to a whole campaign of harassment, is also a legitimate form of free speech.

          I don’t think you’re being told to ‘agree or shut up’. I think you’re being accused of being assholes for your methods of ‘debating’.
          Also, the things you write make it pretty clear that you don’t get it. Or, at least, that you’re so lacking in empathy that your arguments make you appear incapable of understanding the points.

          • mrbp says

            No you are advocates of policies which seek to ban people from dissenting from these activists consensus under the guise that dissent is harassment. Censorship is not free speech.

            It’s you who “don’t get it” and your debating techniques which make you anti free speech and thought. Your condescension is extremely arrogant but I wont stoop to name calling.

  13. Tan says

    @Gilell

    Thanks for explaining that; it really was impossible to find out about by searching. Is this whole thing causing lower female attendance? Well, yeah, logically it is; I don’t know why we have to skirt around the truth when it is clear. Obviously females have been kept away, turned off by it. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad thing at all; at least it is bringing attention to the issue and making people face the truth. Would I be less likely to want to attend because of this whole thing? As a young woman, yeah. That doesn’t mean the Skepchicks have done a bad thing at all; the lower attendance is just more proof that there is a problem. A problem that needs addressing.

    The reason why so many people are either on the fence or taking TF’s side is pretty much summed up by the OTHER reaction to my comment. I was accused of disgusting stuff just for trying to clarify. THAT is what turns people off. Most of the people on the fence are people that haven’t spent time researching just what on earth is going on (as I mention even doing that or trying to do that doesn’t help that much!) and all they have to go on is what they’ve been told; that Watson’s experience in a lift which was likely completely a goofy mistaken attempt at a woo, was made into a big polava. People don’t have time to look back and watch all her vids and see that she wasn’t calling that harassment.

    I’m going to get burned for this, but although I’m a feminist myself as a young educated woman, I have to admit it is the tone that is turning people away and causing them to dismiss what is a perfectly good point. The tone of scold. See the reaction to my comment. See the reaction a totally innocuous comment the other day where someone used the word ‘whore’ in a joking manner regarding a public figure – ‘drama whore’ or some such. Someone came along and straightfacedly wrote ‘Hi. We don’t use words like that here. Please use ‘drama llama’. instead! Thanks!’ I burst into laughter of disbelief because in the blog post I’d just been reading beforehand the word ‘dick’ was deemed perfectly fine.

    I’m a feminist for equal rights. There shouldn’t be any special treatment where the c word and whore are deemed evil, but dick and wanker and more can be used without the raise of an eyebrow. I’m just being honest; that approach will never be cool.

    • says

      The reason why so many people are either on the fence or taking TF’s side is pretty much summed up by the OTHER reaction to my comment. I was accused of disgusting stuff just for trying to clarify.

      Your comment here? Where were you accused of disgusting stuff? By whom?

  14. jackiepaper says

    Thank you, Lilandra. Isn’t it strange and disheartening to see so many logical fallacies come from the keyboards of proud skeptics? I hope you had you hip waders on when you slogged through all the BS in those comets.

    I think I can beat your flat Earth teacher story though. There was (is?) a professor at a local university that sincerely believed that aliens built the pyramids. That serves as a constant reminder to me that being smart and educated does not automatically make a person right.

    • Ray N says

      Hey, what’s WRONG with you? Haven’t you seen the 10 Seasons of Stargate SG-1?The nerve….I mean if the History Channel can put on its channel Ancient Aliens and present it as if it’s actually History and have it on for multiple(4, I think, of which I’ve not seen 100% of every episode due to my watching and getting fed up and wanting to throw the remote at the TV as they make no distinction at conjecture versus Historical facts) seasons, then why not Stargate as historical documentaries? (of course, to their credit, nowhere on Stargate did they make the claim or imply it was based on REAL history, everyone knew it was fantasy, unlike the History Channel) :-)

    • Ray N says

      Also, Ghost Hunters is a long running farce. Personally, I just wish they would look for their ghosts in the daylight, or are the ghosts not out during the day?But they always go into houses with all their technologically advanced equipment(thermometers, light meters[cameras used to have them], magnetomometers) and surely enough they find the anomalies(but if they are that then how can they show up each time in each location?anomalies by definition are irregularities, right, yet they find them every time) they’re looking for that they attribute to the ghosts they’re looking to expose(as if they’re patiently waiting for the Ghost Hunters, and why not, it’s usually so damn dark, what else would be there causing all those confusing amorphous shapes, strange lights and areas growing colder as shown by their instruments? :-)

  15. jackiepaper says

    Tan, this may shock you, but I don’t want to attract more entitled sexists to our movement. We should scold bigots. And just like Holocaust deniers tend to be antisemitic, sexism deniers tend to be sexists. Why in the world should women and their allies be polite and inviting to to people who denigrate, dismiss or harass them?
    You are tone trolling and it isn’t cool. Stop.
    Gendered insults and slut shaming are usually called out here. I’ve seen people asked not to use “dick” as an insult several times. I’ve ask it myself.

    Also, women’s attendance was not down this year at TAM. DJ made that comment about people who held fundraisers to get more women to TAM and he was incorrect.

    The fustercluck in this community is not women speaking up, but misogynists, casual and otherwise, trying desperately and obsessively to shame and silence them.

    • A Hermit says

      The fustercluck in this community is not women speaking up, but misogynists, casual and otherwise, trying desperately and obsessively to shame and silence them.

      Exactly. These are people who are more upset that anyone (especially women) talk about sexism than they are with the sexism.

      They are not good people.

      • says

        While I agree that there is a real element of misogyny especially in the comments in the OP,I believe that is only part of the problem. There has also been a lot of misinformation pumped into the community’s forums. People who have spoken out on this topic have been so vigorously criticized sometimes by respected voices in the community. It can cause normally well intentioned people to fall prey to the bandwagon. There is also not enough people thinking critically, and reacting irrationally.

        • A Hermit says

          True enough; the remedy has to be in calmly publicizing the facts. I know I’m guilty of getting nasty with people at times; I’m trying to limit that at least to people whom I know really are ill-intentioned and not just misinformed.

        • jackiepaper says

          Lilandra, did you just suggest that these people are not misogynists, they are merely “falling prey” to it because feminists have not been nice enough to them? You also know that that “misinformation” is purposefully spread (we call that lying where I’m from) by those same misogynist assholes? Seriously?

          Riiiiight, and if POC had just been nicer to racists, I’m sure desegregation would have gone much smoother. *sarcasm*

          Being nicer to bullies and bigots does not cause them to stop being oppressive jerks. It is so wrong to tell anyone facing bigotry that they are in anyway responsible for the hate and bigoted lies directed at them for the sole purpose of shutting them up and making them go away. Should gays be nicer to the right wing asshats who want to suppress their basic human rights? Would that help their cause at all? Nope. Nor should they have to put aside their indignation in order to make the bigots feel more comfortable. Geez, that is so skeevy to even suggest. It reminds me of bullied kids and abused women being asked, “Well, what did you do to make them hit you, honey?”.Responding to their vile sexists crap with anger and disgust is the correct response. Please stop telling people that if they just worked harder to make friends with these bigots and liars that we could all get along. I’m sure they’d like us all better if we shut up, stroked their egos and made them sammiches too. That would not be a peace worth having. I keep hoping you’ll understand that. I keep being disappointed.

          • says

            I said…

            While I agree that there is a real element of misogyny especially in the comments in the OP,I believe that is only part of the problem.

            Not sure how you got that I said that there wasn’t genuine misogyny going on from what I said.

          • says

            Also your description of what you think I would like people to do IE make bullies “sammiches” is not supportable by anything I have said here or anywhere else.

  16. anon1152 says

    Can I make a confession? I used to think that the “elevatorgate” encounter was no big deal. What’s really converted me to Rebecca Watson’s side is the ridiculously misogynist (and unskeptical) response(s). Going back to view Rebecca Watson’s original video about the issue also helped.

    • says

      You’re the type of person that efforts to raise awareness of the problem are for -people who need more information to assess the situation. Although, we may get some of the vocal opponents to reevaluate their thinking, because they are skeptics. I don’t bet on it.

      • Ray N says

        Cristina Rad(youtuber ZOMGitsCriss) did a video that I thought addressed some good points, and she is, in no way, a rabid Feminist who feels men are the downfall of existence, as some may. And, of course, integralmath(justacar site) felt he should throw his 1 hundredth of ten thousandth of a percent into the ring to show(how much more intelligent he thinks he is and) all(none) her flawed arguments(he tends to do this, as he believes the Colorado shooting tragedy showed there was no misogyny in the world because several boyfriends shielded their girlfriends from the shooter.)
        My point is really about getting “vocal opponents to reevaluate their thinking…, don’t bet on it” and the guy I just mentioned sees himself as some astute ‘skeptic’(and I hesitated to even mention him personally here, but I was unable to figure out a way to say what I wanted to without an example) but his comments tend to reinforce the status quo sexist and misogynism that exists.
        So, I agree with your surmised phrase to apply to the vocal opponents, “Don’t bet on it.”

  17. Douglas1102 says

    I see a familiar face from Youtube here =) (A Hermit) someone that was with me fighting in the trenches of the Youtube cesspool.

    Although I support with PZ’s decision to stop allowing comments on Youtube it’s disappointing because of the sheer number of hours I spent arguing with these idiotic Thunderf0ll0wers. I really thought we were starting to make some headway and now it seems like it was a waste of time (I like to think some of my cleverest comments were on PZ’s video reply to Tf00t)

    *shrugs* oh well… I guess I can still comment on Tf00l’s vids although I would rather given PZ the view traffic.

    If you ever need support on Youtube from someone with way too much time on their hands I’m ready if ya need me =)

    It may not seem like it sometimes… but even with their large numbers Thunderdrones are no match for well reasoned arguments..

    It just takes time.

  18. Douglas1102 says

    And for Aronra, I’m sure you’re familiar with my comments on your vids. I was a longtime subscriber and enjoy promoting your vids on my Facebook etc. But I’m sorry but you’ll be getting no more support from me as long as you continue with your neutral position over this matter.

    • Ray N says

      C’mon, isn’t it polarized enough without acting like Richard Carrier and his “You’re either with us(atheists plus) or against us” and implying therefore you should be shunned and ignored, but at any rate not allowed to be neutral if that’s what your position means. It isn’t the same as moderate theists who allow extremists to dominate, AronRa is not a ‘regular’ person and any move he makes could be misconstrued, and if he wants to be neutral to not add to the polarization that’s his choice, give him that. Clearly, he isn’t a misogynist/sexist person and just his showing neutrality doesn’t mean he is FOR misogyny. Though I understand that not speaking up is often seen as an endorsement, I don’t think that applies here. And I know he doesn’t need me to defend him.

      • Douglas1102 says

        “Though I understand that not speaking up is often seen as an endorsement”

        I certainly agree with that.

        “I don’t think that applies here.”

        I certainly do not agree with that. Aron shares many subs with Tf00t and I’ve no doubt many of them do think he’s endorsing.

        “And I know he doesn’t need me to defend him.”

        Cmon’ now… don’t put words into my mouth… I wouldn’t have said that.

        I’m not here to attack him. I like him… and decided I will still support him but not on Youtube and that’s a lot of the reason I came to this vid. When I told him I wasn’t going to be subbed to him or promote his vids that would have been the last I had to say about it. I’m sure he understands perfectly well why I’m doing it.

        ” It isn’t the same as moderate theists who allow extremists to dominate,”

        I don’t agree with that at all… as a matter of fact I think that’s a great analogy.

        “just his showing neutrality doesn’t mean he is FOR misogyny”

        Nope… but I would say he’s enabling it.

        I feel it’s polite to respond to you, but again I’m not here to attack Aron despite my disappointment with his neutrality.

        • Ray N says

          “Aron shares many subs with Tf00t and I’ve no doubt many of them do think he’s endorsing.”
          I’m a subscriber, and I don’t think he’s endorsing 100% of Tf00t’s views, but sounds like you want a rigged game, with the result being one of YOUR choosing rather than the individual subscribers, who may be able to think for themselves in spite of subscribing to Tf00t or AronRa either one, or to both. I guess my main thing on this is cutting off communication just due to different views however awful we believe them to be from our own or others isn’t conducive to learning how to be together congenially on this planet.
          I stick with our disagreement on the analogy of moderates and extremists as theists do great harm, whereas atheists views are more likely to change and can be corrected if found to be wanting(perhaps if I pursued it long enough I could get you to return to AronRa’s youtube actions, :-).
          Also, we disagree on enabling versus endorsing. Am I enabling the violence against women by not being more involved in preventing it(I do as much as I can to help, and I do it due to 50% of all murders is committed by their loving mates, with the highest majority of them being men killing women mates), should I set up more women’s shelters, or volunteering more often at those already in place, and by not being more involved, am I endorsing the violence or is my paying lip service to it, or speaking out against it enough?
          I oppose the sham that is the peace agreement meetings between Israel/Palestinians. Am I enabling the tragedies brought against the Palestinians by Holocaust descendents, the Zionists leaders in Israel by not engaging more in fighting FOR the Palestinians, and is that an endorsement of Hamas?Or is it endorsing peace. Convoluted a bit right? My exact point.
          I only give about $50/month(all I can afford)for feeding those who aren’t getting enough to eat around the world. Am I enabling hunger somewhere in the world by not providing more?In a word, YES. What should I do further?And does it contribute to the 3.5 children under age 5 that dies each and every second of each and every day, in part, at least, to not getting enough to eat?
          I know, it was a bit cryptic at the end there, point being things aren’t as simple as they appear, or we want them to be. Peace!

        • Ray N says

          I almost forgot, thanks for the ‘polite’ reply Doug, but as it says in Desiderata, I repeat here a few lines that read: “As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons” AND “Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.” AND lastly, “Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others….Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.” :-)

          • douglas1102 says

            Wait… why is “polite” in quotes when you seem sincere?

            “I’m a subscriber, and I don’t think he’s endorsing 100% of Tf00t’s views”

            Let me be perfectly clear here, I do not think Aron is endorsing Tf00t’s views on this matter… not one bit.

            I’m saying that silence on Youtube is taken as endorsement from many like subscribers… when they post here that seems pretty clear. A few have pretty much said it flat out.

            I’m not going to associate myself with anyone associating with Tf00t on Youtube and I’m tired of other known Tubers (not Aron) bending over backwards to defend him. (you should see my conversation with Concordance, he’s being ridiculous and he knows it)

            Not too mention… a lot of my income comes from private music lessons and you can be damn sure parents look me up on-line, if they saw this whole Tf00t nonsense I’d be sunk and rightfully so. Being subbed to Atheist channels is risky enough.

      • says

        I’m still convinced that the “You’re either with us(atheists plus) or against us” characterization of Carrier’s post is blatantly wrong. I thought he was pretty clear that it was being for reason, compassion, and integrity, or against us, where ‘us’ was the people in favor of those values. A whole lot of people just seemed intent on claiming the ‘us’ was not what Carrier said it was, but rather ‘people who used the A+ label’.

        • Douglas1102 says

          Hey… this is a reply to my comment on Youtube =D

          “But again, I don’t need to. There’s enough evidence floating around the internet. For instance, “Some guy HIT ON ME! He asked me to come back to his room. WHAT A SEXIST!!” _> at least he could have left the “show comments” option)

          I’m kinda flattered she called me “sooo intelligent” even though I never made any mention of my intelligence, seems like subconsciously admitting I’m making great arguments =)

          Btw… this is a great example of someone who directs you to another person’s argument and can’t explain on their own what that argument even is (group-think indeed)

      • jackiepaper says

        Ray, their is no neutral position here. Either women are people and deserve to be treated as such, or they are not. You are either a feminist or you don’t believe women deserve equality. You either think harassment is wrong or you don’t. Not caring whether or not I am treated as a human being does not make you neutral. It puts you squarely on team sexist asshole. Anytime you say to yourself, “Well, those people may be treated horribly in my community, but who cares? It isn’t my problem.” You are condoning the horrible treatment of those people.
        That said, I have not considered AronRa’s stance to be one of neutrality. I thought he and Lilandra have been supportive, although at times mistaken on the best way to actually be supportive. That said, I don’t watch YT videos much anymore, so I have no idea what has been said there by AronRa. I certainly hope he does not consider this a “discussion” with two points of view that deserve equal respect and consideration. I would hope he would be as dismissive of misogynists as he is of Creationists.

        • Douglas1102 says

          @Jackiepaper

          Pretty much my view exactly…

          That being said… I can’t blame Aron for not giving up on Tf00t right away. I did the same thing despite the obvious warning signs but in hindsight it was a big mistake.

          I’m not surprised there’s so much fallacy in Tf00l’s comment section, his vids are pretty much the same. Tf00t is more than intelligent enough to know he’s being purposely dishonest and peeps need to start calling him on it.

          There isn’t enough people speaking for the other side on Youtube, dishonesty has run rampant and lets not kid ourselves into thinking Youtube isn’t a very influential medium.

          Tf00t and his supporters are taking this “free-speech always prevails” argument to ridiculous extremes.

          When you’re the big fish in your environment this is clearly in your favor and allows you to drown out legitimate opposing views, the only solution is more people speaking out or to throw your hands up in the air, give up and let them take over the medium which is exactly what’s happened.

          Personally, I’m not gonna stand for it and I’m very disappointed FTB is allowing it to happen.

          Free-speech will win in the end and honest arguments will prevail but not unless enough people speak up.

    • mrbp says

      @Douglas1102 “And for Aronra, I’m sure you’re familiar with my comments on your vids. I was a longtime subscriber and enjoy promoting your vids on my Facebook etc. But I’m sorry but you’ll be getting no more support from me as long as you continue with your neutral position over this matter”

      Here’s a thought experiment for you.

      What if he waded into the argument and you found out that like many of us Aronra disagreed with the idea that there was a serious sexism problem and that female sceptics needed protecting from being offended or “sexualised” by hordes of beastly misogynistic men?

      • mrbp says

        I guess in that situation Aronra would be shamed as a sexist beast who just “doesn’t get it” then unceremoniously jettisoned from this neck of the woods.

        • Douglas1102 says

          First of all this is my first time commenting here so I’m sure the regulars don’t appreciate the assumption that I’m also a regular. I know in your tiny little world FTB only has this view but that’s not the case.

          “What if he waded into the argument and you found out that like many of us Aronra disagreed with the idea that there was a serious sexism problem and that female sceptics needed protecting from being offended or “sexualised” by hordes of beastly misogynistic men?”

          That is one enormous “if”. (I sure freakin’ hope)

          “IF” that were the case I would write him off completely and go on full attack mode and I’d say he contributes to rape culture by pretending thousands of atheist misogynists don’t exist and that women’s complaints are just hysterical nonsense.

          What was I just saying to (I assume) a regular about Tf00t fans assuming Aronra’s motives?

          “I guess in that situation Aronra would be shamed as a sexist beast who just “doesn’t get it” then unceremoniously jettisoned from this neck of the woods.”

          I would certainly hope so.

          • mrbp says

            So if you don’t think the sceptic community is a hot bed of misogynist sexual predators or that making a clumsy proposition at a bad time constitutes sexism you are contributing to “rape culture”

            What utter hysterical nonsense and way to go for closing down debate by demonising the opposite view. Bravo

        • Douglas1102 says

          “So if you don’t think the sceptic community is a hot bed of misogynist sexual predators or that making a clumsy proposition at a bad time constitutes sexism you are contributing to “rape culture”

          You guys don’t have a clue what rape-culture means and you’re not interested in learning. I think it’s time that you proved otherwise… and no copy and paste definitions I want a paraphrased answer so I know you actually get-it.

          “What utter hysterical nonsense”

          Why’s that? I don’t care about unbacked opinion

          “and way to go for closing down debate by demonising the opposite view. Bravo”

          The debate isn’t closed, I think you may mean “trying to close down debate”. And how am I “demonising”?

          The problem is that you have no idea what rape-culture means… go learn and prove you understand and then maybe we’ll get somewhere.

          • mrbp says

            You guys don’t have a clue about what free thought, free speech and rationality are and you are not interested in learning. Touche

            Rape Culture is a feminist hypothesis (not a fact) that we live in a culture where rape and sexual violence is common place, normalised and condoned by everyone from the media to the authorities. In other words it is an utter fiction.

            You go and learn.

          • mrbp says

            PS: I am a gay man who has been raped before (but I need to go and learn) and I can tell you rape is not condoned, normalised or excused by society. Your self righteous arrogance and hysteria is tangible.

          • Douglas1102 says

            “PS: I am a gay man who has been raped before (but I need to go and learn) and I can tell you rape is not condoned, normalised or excused by society. Your self righteous arrogance and hysteria is tangible.”

            I really doubt that, and most honest people wouldn’t offer up personal anecdotes unless you want to allow people to verify. And even if it were verifiable it still wouldn’t prove your point. Getting raped doesn’t give you any more authority to claim that “rape is not condoned, normalised or excused by society” it’s NOT EVEN REMOTELY a consensus among rape victims. I think you’re full of shit and it’s lame attempt to get me to back down… it won’t work.

            Glad to see you bothered to look it up but there’s more to it than that, and it’s certainly not fiction.

            Everyone, including you, has heard of the Steubenville Rape Crew and you really couldn’t find a better example and that’s HARDLY the only one.

            You know it’s not fiction, yet you still aggressively claim that it’s not true and THAT’s a form of normalizing and condoning. The same goes when you demonize RW and make up whatever innocent scenario you can for some creep.

            Victim blaming and unreasonable preconceived doubt towards any claim of sexual assault or rape do the same thing.. most MRA’s try and assert false rape claims are just as common as genuine ones. (if not more common)

            Seems there’s always an anonymous rape victim in these MRA threads

            Check out the local university’s bullshit http://queensjournal.ca/story/2011-11-18/news/bans-banned-terms/

            There a “rape victim” there that claims “As for condoning rape, I am a victim of rape myself. Singing those songs on long bus rides with the single greatest group of friends I could ever have got me through it.”

            As if that’s really the case and it’s not just some lowlife MRA that actually thinks he’s making a valid point with his unverified personal anecdote.

            I’m not falling for your irrelevant anecdote and I don’t believe you think it’s “utter fiction”

          • says

            I’d agree that ‘rape culture’ is a hypothesis. But the feminists make much better arguments in favor of the idea than you do against it, and with data to back it up. I might quibble over pieces here and there as to how much something actually condones or normalizes rape. But they make a convincing case that several aspects of our culture make some types of rape easy to get away with, blaming the victims for causing their own rapes, or outright defining rapes as not rape.

          • mrbp says

            Douglas the fact that you think it is appropriate to call a rape victim a liar means you are more of a proponent of the fictitious “Rape Culture” than I will ever be. Shame on you. Just to prove your dogmatic, hysterical point of view you deem it appropriate to deny that a rape has occurred to the person who was raped.

            If I was a woman you wouldn’t dare, you would be beating yourself for your transgression, calling yourself a rape apologist, misogynist animal and the other members would be tearing you apart and getting you banned but because I am a man who disagrees with you it is fair game to call me a liar.

            I think you have just made an admission to being an out and out sexist. Well done. You guys are the living embodiment of dishonest, dogmatic, anti free thought.

            John-Henry Beck whilst I agree with you we have problems in our culture that doesn’t constitute a culture which condones rape. There are some terrible judges, police and journalists out there on the subject of rape but the fact still remains that most people abhor rape and the law and media reflect that.

            As you know there are plenty of people who disagree with the simplistic view that there is a “rape Culture” who have data to back it up.

            Please try and engage with my points instead of just dismissing them as the ramblings of a demonic rape apologist.

          • says

            You appear to be arguing disingenuously as you are erecting strawmen all over the discussion. Growing up I witnessed someone, who was molested by her mother’s boyfriends. None of those people were ever punished. Society can and does tolerate these abuses. For you to deny that is a tell.

          • Douglas1102 says

            “Douglas the fact that you think it is appropriate to call a rape victim a liar… ”

            I’m not just taking your word for it nor do I care, you’re not even close to the first MRA that’s tried the “I’m a rape victim so I’m right” crap. And again… even if it were true it’s irrelevant to the validity of rape-culture.

            “If I was a woman you wouldn’t dare”

            Except I posted a link where I did exactly that. (claimed to be a woman at least *eyeroll*)

            Btw… how do you know I’m not a rape victim and you’re the “insensitive” one?

            Because that’s actually the case… I was held hostage by a family of Yetis and raped over and over for months on end and gave birth to a freak yeti baby from my ass so I guess that means my personal opinion about the validity of rape-culture is more valid than yours right?

            And I notice how you went from “utter fiction” to admitting it exists but doesn’t permeate every corner of society which is exactly what people are saying. (I suppose I should be glad you conceded that but I’ll bet he goes right back to total denial)

            Btw… anyone on FTB have a guess who this guy is on Youtube? I’m starting to have some suspicions.

      • Douglas1102 says

        Actually I have read that and I’ve never had any doubt what “side” AronRa is on. As far as I’m concerned he’s the most effective YT atheist.

        Youtube atheism seems to be more about deriding self-esteem by watching someone else prove how stupid another person is. I consider this petty and beneath me and most importantly it hardly a way to sway people.

        Honestly is the best way to sway people… just ask Orwell

        Aron has a great talent for this approach and that’s why I consider him top YT atheist. In my own experience his vids are the only ones I share that get any favorable responses, even Xians often like his vids and a few of my spiritual or xian friends have even subbed. This is certainly not the case with any other Youtube atheist vids.

        Aron is easily the best candidate to sway Youtube

  19. Douglas1102 says

    And I know this isn’t the place to ask but hth do I sign up at FTB so I can change my icon etc.?

    Can someone halp this noob? o.o

  20. mofa says

    So Dr Hall made a personal and political statement on herT-shirt. That is her right. People often wear T-shirts bearing political comment to events. She has taken a political stance that differers from some members of Skepchick. Again this is her prerogative. Skepchick is mentioned on her T-shirt. So what! Skepchick is only a podcast! It is also of very little importance in the affairs of the world or the atheist community. She probably
    made referrence to ‘Skepchick’ because it is such a stupid name. How sensible is it for people who want encourage more women to join the atheist/skeptic movement to come up with a name ‘Skepchick’? When is the last time anyone reading this post went up to a woman and seriously called her a chick?

    • says

      @Mofa You may be engaging in the 2 wrongs make a right fallacy. Just because you think the skepchicks are wrongerer for using the word chicks it doesn’t make the t-shirt right.

      • murderface says

        Lilandra, at this point I don’t think mofa is employing fallacies; just being wilfully obtuse. In addition, mofa’s obviously derailing the conversation now, asking whether “Skepchick” is a good name for a group of skeptical women to apply to themselves; attempting some hindsight ESP and implying Dr Hall just thought the name was stupid; implying Skepchick isn’t even “important enough” to be talked about (never mind the fact that a high-profile TAM speaker wore a t-shirt openly dismissing them while giving her speech!).

        The situation isn’t as difficult to understand as mofa is making out; mofa simply adopts a “huh? whuh? noooo, here’s what it all REALLY means” position because the simple facts of the matter aren’t to their liking.

        • mofa says

          I simply made a suggestion as to why Dr Hall had used the word ‘skepchicks’ on her ‘T’.
          She most likely doesn’t like the Skepchicks show or the name. Dr Hall has every right to not like a show or the name of a show and to express that. She may love the show for all I know. What I do know is that Dr Hall is definitely a skeptic.

  21. mittens says

    why wasnt there a trigger warning… now the author of this article has ruined my day :(
    hmmmmph!

  22. hjhornbeck says

    Ms Hall was simply saying that she was a skeptic, just like everyone else at the conference.

    Why would someone at a skeptical convention need to say they were a skeptic, let alone someone famous enough to earn a podium?

    And the fact that she is female and the person next to her is male is irrelevant. All patrons of the conference are equal and their gender is of no importance.

    To you, perhaps, but to others it makes her worth less than a man. If you ignore that, you’re ignoring reality.

    And Ms Hall felt safe amoungst her skeptical friends, colleagues, acquaintances and strangers with like minds. And I believe she was sincere.

    You’re walking down the street at night, when you notice a person behind you. They seem to be stalking you; stopping and moving when you do, giving you a funny look, and so on. Worse, they seem to be getting closer and closer… only to duck into an doorway and quickly look bored. A glance ahead reveals why: two police officers are strolling towards you. Quickly, you flag them down and explain the situation.

    One police officer says: “Well, I don’t feel threatened right now. Do you feel threatened, Frank?”

    By saying she felt fine, Hall wasn’t trying to analyze why some people did not agree, or try to explain why their fears were unfounded. At best, she was ignoring them completely; at worst, she was dismissing them by saying her experience carried more weight than theirs. And that is not skeptical, nor empathetic.

    Those who can’t see this have other fish to fry.

  23. Ray N says

    Wow, Is this(comment from the article below) for real or what? I couldn’t figure out who said this agreeing with Bardlettt, here, and I won’t bother to go to the article comments to find out, but I want no identification of being an atheist with assholes like this.
    “All these nigger and kike whores trying to turn our conferences into their liberal bullshit orgies. WE NEED TO SPEAK OUT AND STOP THEM! Fake jewelry? Is that really in an official conference harassment policy? We must demonstrate before these fucking stupid, non secular sluts take over our atheism.”

    “nigger and kike whores” “trying to turn our conferences” “their liberal bullshit orgies” “demonstrate before these fucking stupid, non-secular sluts take over our atheism”
    Who or which atheists thinks white supremacist attitudes, racism and lobotomised speech like this is a part of being an atheist?Someone please enlighten me as to how many folks like this attend the conferences. Say it ain’t so. I have not ever(sheltered life perhaps)come across any atheists who were also rabid right winger Tparty type, racist suckers like the commenter here anywhere.

    • Douglas1102 says

      I think the blog actually refers to that post as a POE.

      However I do think racism is common among “skeptics” and atheists. A “race realist” is a prime example of a racist claiming to be skeptical. Although I doubt there’s many at conferences.

      • Ray N says

        Makes me really sad, but I think you’re correct regarding some atheist racists. I was born and spent much of my early life in the South, KKK country, as it were, and they were all flaming religious Xian zealots, so I was a bit surprised at the post(but, as the internet has all varied shapes and sizes of real nutjobs, and as I like to call myself a bleeding heart Progressive, no doubt some will see me as one of the ‘liberal’ nutjobs :-) ), but as you say, that post was a POE.

  24. mofa says

    hjhorbeck, above you created your own little scenario about a dark street and a creepy man following behind, slowing down, stopping and ducking into doorways and generally acting treatening and you are seriously trying to compare that to being at a skeptics conference? You have lost the plot!

  25. mofa says

    Also hjhornbeck, hey when people go to skeptics conferences they sometimes wear ‘I’m a skeptic’ T-shirts. Just like some people will wear an ‘I love ACDC’ T-shirt to an ACDC concert. Don’t be surprised hjhornbeck when it comes to picking people for the debating teams, you get picked last.

    • mandrellian says

      Bet you’ve never seen an “I LOVE AC/DC BUT NOT BLACK SABBATH” t-shirt.

      Dr Hall’s shirt said “I’m a skeptic, NOT A SKEPCHICK”. If it had just said “I’m a skeptic” noone would’ve raised an eyebrow.

      You really do seem dedicated to not understanding this conversation.

      • mofa says

        mandrellian, I’m a Radiohead kind of person, but I don’t mind some ACADACA. But I really dislike Black Sabbath, so yes I can have a T-shirt made up tomorrow by my local T-shirt print shop which reads “I love ACDC and Sabbath Suck!” (and I would be communicating the truth) so mandrellian, take your mind outside of the box you have placed it in. The world is not binary, it is not black and white…and yes you CAN be pro women, a WRA, a ‘womans’ libber’ and NOT be a feminist. Because feminism is an ideology and ideologies can be wrong or only partly right.

        • mandrellian says

          Way to miss the point.

          If you went to see ACDC open for Black Sabbath and wore your “ACDC rules, SABBATH suck”, you would rightly be called out for being petty and divisive. There’s no NEED for you to say “SABBATH suck” if the reason for your being there is to see ACDC – unless of course you feel you need to distance yourself from Sabbath and their fans.

          That’s what Dr Hall did. She didn’t just say “I’m a skeptic”; she said “I’m not a Skepchick” because she wanted to distance herself from the Skepchick group, due specifically to the stance the Skepchick crew took on the whole harassment policy issue (and no, not because she thought the name was silly – FFS, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard). Take your mind out of your arse and engage in this conversation in good faith and you’ll realise that.

          BTW feminism is the idea that women and men can and should be socially, economically and politically equal. That’s it. If you agree that women should have such equality, that makes you a feminist regardless of whether you like the label.

          • mofa says

            I shall start with your last line first. Don’t tell me that I am a feminist if I support gender equality. I wish I had a dollar for every time I had that comment thrown at me. Feminism has done a lot of good over the past 50 years or more but it also does harm to both men and women. It is a socio political ideology not a substitute word for ‘equality’. It is based on a set of constructs that have not been scientifically proven. It is flawed, not perfect. It supports and tackles women’s rights issues, not men’s issues. So stop trying to spread the propaganda. When is the last time you saw feminists fighting for father’s rights, tackling the issue of young male suicide, speaking out against the imbalance in funding of male versus female cancer research?
            Dr, Hall had every right to voice her opinion in a passive manner (T-shirt) at the conference. And I don’t know if she thinks the name ‘skepchicks’ is silly or not, but what I do know is that a number of intelligent well respected people in the community do. And on your first anology, the ACDC/Sabbath concert T-shirt, Dr. Hall would have known she would be distancing herself from the ‘skepchicks’ when she wore that T-shirt, she obviously did not care, and why should she. Sometimes a political statement is far more important than good graces.

        • douglas1102 says

          AAAaaarrrgh… this comment makes me furious >__<

          Here's one example http://www.malesurvivor.org/ <—feminist website entirely dedicated to problems men face linked right on feminist.com and run by feminists.

          *takes a deep breath* before you give me an aneurysm at least consider that it might be true and look for yourself, DON'T take my word for it… go and look yourself.

          And while you're at it ask yourself, "do any of these MRA sites ever even consider the problems women might face?"… EVER?!?!???

          If you can do that and still come back here and tell me that they don't care about men's rights then you can go !@#$$ a!@#$in' in the !@$#in' !@#

          • Ray N says

            Hey, Doug, thanks for the link. I had not known of the first site, and some, men and women, have asked me about similar abuse issues while others think why are women wanting to be more like men, or to take what men have…and I didn’t have a site to point them to that actually answered some of those notions, except, of course the usual, feminists sites, NOW, and the regular women’s sites I knew of. For some folks I just use/used the following sentences:

            “For many decades women have been taking the lead in this fight ; giving the impression of a struggle of the female against the male; although it constitutes a legitimate claim against vile practices established by groups of people only to appease their egoistic sexual lust and patriarchal attitudes.”

            Which came from lines in an article I had saved as a quote that was on feminist.com, but alas, I don’t recall which article. I have since began to provide original links along with the saved quotes from the articles from whence I got’em. The specific article lines garnered here was at a time earlier on when I started gathering these tidbits of wisdom(some are awful quotes, like the one about a woman, a walnut tree and a dog and about beating them making them better or some such horseshit as that).
            Seems as I recall it was about getting support from men and showing how women were paramount in the movement for people only because they noticed the problems first and became more involved than men did. I do know the topic was from feminist.com.

            In the ’70s there was a really serious and heartier push for the ERA Amendment(though for many years it had been introduced year after year for decades)Phyllis Schlafly was a BIGTIME opponent of it.
            So, after it was surmised Reagan was probably going to be elected in the ’80 election, dumbass though everyone knew he was, he was just so…personable…whatever that may mean. I created a pledge based on my personal perceptions at that time, and just this last year renewed it, reworded a bit but same type of pledge:

            “It is my observation today in 1981, that there is far too much violence, inequality, & disrespect shown to women all over the world, in the forms of sexism, misogyny and more, and it should, albeit, MUST stop NOW & I, as a human being, pledge to do what I can to end the overt, sometimes covert, and too often blatant, abuses of women.” -RNash’81

            Last year, around mid year, I think, June maybe, I re-wrote a bit and pledged again to help the situation for women, in light of the 112th Congress(mostly the House) imposition of draconian bills against women’s abortion issues like HR3 and HR 358 passing the House, along with other anti-women bills by a House controlled by TpartyPublicans.

            “There is far too much violence, inequality, & disrespect shown to women in the forms of sexism, misogyny and more, around the world and it must, simply must stop NOW & I pledge as a male human being to do what I can to that end.” -RNash 2012

            I didn’t take this pledge to the exclusion of there being also men’s issues not being addressed, but with Todd Akin, a MAN, speaking for the almost entire TPublican party saying shit about legitimate rape and women’s secreting a fluid to prevent pregnancy from their rapist, wow…just wow. And HR 3 and HR 358 were introduced by…you guessed it…MEN who can’t ever get pregnant, no matter how they may try :-).
            I’m with the first woman Congressperson elected in 1916(yes, before women could vote) and again in 1940, a Republican from Montana, elected to the House, Jeannette Rankin, a Pacifist, who voted against entry into both WW I and WW II, said of women: “We’re half the people; we should be half the Congress.”which is the only way to have women truly represented impartially, as 50% of Congress. The 112th Congress was only 17% women, less than the 111th Congress.
            So, anyone want to join me and take this pledge for women?

    • Douglas1102 says

      Funny analogy because people actually people used to wear “Fuck Axel” T-shirts to Guns and Roses concerts and they got thrown out.

      Is Axle a sensitive crybaby that needs to be constantly supported by yes-men? Yup… but that’s not the point. It’s their property and they make the rules if you wanna slam the act do it somewhere they’re not playing, that’s standard business for events… try that in Hollywood and see where it gets you.

      Are these events the same? Hey, it was your analogy. If it was me it would be the same policy (yup)

  26. mrbp says

    Basically “I get it” I just don’t happen to agree.

    You guys believe that the sceptic/atheist community reflects the wider community which in your world view is a terrifying place where men persecute women by using rape and violence at will and the police, courts, and media either condone it or applaud it.

    Anyone who disagrees that the sceptic/atheist community and wider world is involved in this terrifying persecution of womankind is either by default a gormless idiot, a malevolent idiot or a fully paid up supporter of rape and violence against women.

    Therefore people who disagree must be denounced, shouted down and ostracised as the monsters they are.

    But you are all still free thinking and sceptics open to opposing ideas! Doesn’t anyone else see a problem with that?

    • Douglas1102 says

      Seriously… is it possible for you to not only see extremes?

      You made some good headway when you conceded that rape-culture exists but doesn’t permeate every corner of society, you should keep going with that.

      • mrbp says

        Douglas you sound like Orwell’s Big Bother. I must subject myself to re-education but of course, you are a free thinker. What hypocrisy

        • mrbp says

          PS: I’m the one who concedes we have certain problems but don’t believe there is this terrifying mass persecution of women in our culture yet I only see extremes!! Logic is not your strength.

      • says

        Lilandra you are correct Watson never claimed the initial incident as “harassment” and the OP does not state there is a “terrifying mass persecution of women” but the vicious crusade that Watson, Greta, PZ, Ophelia and their supporters are waging suggests otherwise.

        They have worked tirelessly to highlight the dangers persecution and monstrous oppression that women face in both the skeptic community and the wider privileged Western world.

        Anyone who has disagreed with them has been viciously attacked, denounced as a “privileged” supporter of oppression against women; and in the case of Dawkins, Grothe, Shermer and Thunderfoot bans, boycotts and petition for them to be fired has been the reaction.

        Read the thread above where it is suggested that if a hypothetical Aronra were to decide to wade in on this issue but ended up disagreeing with Watson, PZ and co.

        The reply was that this hypothetical Aronra should then be banished from “Freethought” (oh the irony) blogs and attacked as a contributer to “rape culture”

        Even if none of you said Elevatorgate was harassment your words, actions and attitudes suggest you believe that women are being persecuted and are in clear and present danger yet so far the only evidence of this terrifying situation women in the skeptic community face is that Watson was propositioned by a drunk bloke and gets hate mail from internet trolls.

        That is no strawman

        • douglas1102 says

          “Anyone who has disagreed with them has been viciously attacked, denounced as a “privileged” supporter of oppression against women; and in the case of Dawkins, Grothe, Shermer and Thunderfoot bans, boycotts and petition for them to be fired has been the reaction.”

          As they should be

          “Read the thread above where it is suggested that if a hypothetical Aronra were to decide to wade in on this issue but ended up disagreeing with Watson, PZ and co.

          The reply was that this hypothetical Aronra should then be banished from “Freethought” (oh the irony) blogs and attacked as a contributer to “rape culture””

          I stand by that statement… and what “irony” are you talking about? I see no irony

          “yet so far the only evidence of this terrifying situation women in the skeptic community face is that Watson was propositioned by a drunk bloke and gets hate mail from internet trolls.”

          That’s not the only evidence. And even if it were that’s more than enough.

          “That is no strawman”

          I’ve no idea why you feel the need to point that out

        • says

          Oliver,

          [blockquote]Anyone who has disagreed with them has been viciously attacked, denounced as a “privileged” supporter of oppression against women; and in the case of Dawkins, Grothe, Shermer and Thunderfoot bans, boycotts and petition for them to be fired has been the reaction.[/blockquote]

          The above is a blatant misrepresentation. The people that get attacked aren’t merely disagreeing, but doing so in vicious and trollish ways, often flaunting their ignorance, and generally showing a lack of reason and empathy.
          Dawkins was criticized harshly for his blatantly dismissive and insulting comment.
          Thunderf00t was apparently completely incapable of saying anything without blatantly straw manning and misrepresenting others’ positions with gross hyperbole and paranoia.

          You need to remember that for many people involved in these discussions it’s very personal. They are getting hounded and harassed daily and faced with quite a bit of sexism. If someone comes in and casually dismisses everything they’re going through, they’re going to piss people off.
          For that matter, repeatedly dismissing concepts like privilege and rape culture as ridiculous and blithely ignoring corrections to your misconceptions about these concepts isn’t going to go over well either – angering people with the apparently intentional straw manning.

        • says

          Even if none of you said Elevatorgate was harassment your words, actions and attitudes suggest you believe that women are being persecuted and are in clear and present danger yet so far the only evidence of this terrifying situation women in the skeptic community face is that Watson was propositioned by a drunk bloke and gets hate mail from internet trolls.

          That is no strawman

          Wrong. It has been already explained to you down thread what the problem is.

    • jackiepaper says

      So, Mrbp, all the women telling you about the harassment, groping, stalking, etc they have experienced are liars? Rape culture is a fabrication of silly wimmins? Patriarchy is just something women invented to demonize teh menz? You automatically know better than them and if they disagree, let me guess: MISANDRY!
      Nope, you aren’t a sexism denier at all.

      • says

        Jackiepaper you should engage your brain before you thud your head on the keyboard. No one said that anyone was lying.

        Other than the non issue of Elevatorgate there has been no reports of rapes, violence or serious sexual assault in the Skeptic community yet you guys are preprepared to tear our community asunder unless we fall into line with your radical feminist view that women are in clear and present danger..

        You are the one beating a strawman.

        Not only the strawman that your critics are stupid, malevolent or both but the strawman that to disagree that Elevatorgate constitutes sexism makes us “sexism deniers”

        This is nothing but victim mentality and a desire to force feminist dogma on a whole community run amok.

        • says

          Why don’t we clarify this one and for all. For all of us “sexism deniers”

          Please list all of the incidents of sexism and sexual assault that have happened in the skeptic/atheist community. (Nasty internet trolls, clumsy chat up lines or a wolf whistle need not apply)

          If you can show to me that there is a serious issue that needs to be addressed I for one will change my mind and help fight sexism in our community.

          • douglas1102 says

            So we’re supposed to “list all of the incidents of sexism and sexual assault that have happened in the skeptic/atheist community” but we can’t use examples of sexism like “Nasty internet trolls, clumsy chat up lines”???

            No thanks… I’ll pass. I don’t care if you won’t help.

          • Stacy says

            There are a number of women who receive comments, emails, and twitter messages every day, that are sexist. Imagine if you received multiple messages a day attacking your sexuality, calling you names like “prick” and “man-slut,” and telling you you’re ugly or just need to get laid. Imagine blogs devoted to mocking you.

            These aren’t just trolls. These are people within the movement who are obsessed, and devoted to attacking feminist freethinkers for speaking out.

            Other examples? There are cases of sexual harassment, including assault and battery. I have news for you: sexual harassment that occurs where there are no witnesses, can rarely be resolved by law enforcement. Telling you about the case I know of would be pointless; I can’t share names and you have no reason to believe me. It’s an anecdote. But it happens.

            Nobody is claiming that every woman at a conference is going to be harassed. We are claiming that it happens, and that raising awareness about it, making clear what won’t be tolerated, and having policies for dealing with it will help. What exactly is your problem with that?

        • douglas1102 says

          “Not only the strawman that your critics are stupid, malevolent or both but the strawman that to disagree that Elevatorgate constitutes sexism makes us “sexism deniers””

          Even if either example were true that would not be a “straw-man”… a straw-man is when you misrepresent your opponent’s position and attack the made up position

          For example…

          “you guys are preprepared to tear our community asunder unless we fall into line with your radical feminist view that women are in clear and present danger..”

          That’s a straw-man… no one has “threatened to tear our community asunder” and no one has claimed “women are in a clear and present danger”

          “Not only the strawman that your critics are stupid, malevolent or both”

          If that were true… it would be an ad hom because whether they are stupid or malevolent it doesn’t make their claim invalid.

          ” to disagree that Elevatorgate constitutes sexism makes us “sexism deniers””

          That’s not fallacy… that’s exactly correct.

          • douglas1102 says

            “I’m getting a lesson in what a strawman is from the bloke who just accused me of misogyny for disagreeing with you about what feminism is. smh”

            That’s also a straw-man

            “bloke”??? wtf are you, some cockney boot-black from 19th century London?

  27. mofa says

    “mofa: Now you’re comparing Amy Roth to Obama. I thought she was insignificant and barely worthy of notice? Make up your mind.”

    They both make political comments. One takes critisim on the chin, one cries. One is good at what they do one is not. One makes ceramic jewellry, one is the leader of the free world. you can compare them…easily.

  28. mofa says

    I’m sick of hearing the skepchicks opinion on what all women think and feel, I would like to hear some other women talk…say Paula Kirby, Abbie Smith, and even WeisApple…now she is not only smart but funny!

    • says

      I think you have already heard these women’s opinions, as you state one of them is smart and funny. I am not a skepchick. My opinion is my own. Despite your objections you seem quite fascinated with the skepchicks though as you have dominated the discussion talking about Amy Roth even though I didn’t mention her in my OP.

      • mofa says

        I only brought up Amy Roth because someone else brought up the ‘T-shirt controversy’. Roth and the T-shirt affair are linked would you not agree?

  29. Mike de Fleuriot says

    At least now we all know which type of person we want to invite to conferences that we want to attend. That much is to be thankful for.

    • says

      Yes Mike, we know you would all rather hear Watson read her youtube comments and wax lyrical about how tough life is for educated women in the West than hear the hideously “privileged” Professor Dawkins do a talk on evolution. What a step forward for free thought!!!!!

      • douglas1102 says

        “Yes Mike, we know you would all rather hear Watson read her youtube comments and wax lyrical about how tough life is for educated women in the West than hear the hideously “privileged” Professor Dawkins do a talk on evolution.”

        If you fling around sarcasm it’s gonna come right back at you.

        I’d love to hear Dawkins do a talk on evolution and I bet even RW would like to hear, but if he wants to make ridiculous “muslima” arguments I’ll find another evolutionist, it’s not like Dawkins is the only one.

        And why do you keep bringing up free thought and irony? Explain please…

        • says

          If you consider yourself a free thinker yet would like to see people who disagree with your radical feminist outlook jettisoned from Free Thought blogs that is the definition of irony old bean. Use you head mate.

          • douglas1102 says

            Wtf is “Free Thought blogs” O.o?

            Ohhh… I get it now. You don’t understand what “Freethought” even means. Tell ya what… before I call you a moron go to Wikipedia, look up the term, and pay careful attention to the FIRST FREAKIN’ LINE

            “not to be confused with”.

  30. hjhornbeck says

    No, silly, you’ve just looked at the trees instead of the forest. Telling someone who feels threatened “I don’t feel threatened” will do nothing at best, and at worst make things worse. I outlined all that above, and you have yet to argue against it. Does this mean you agree?

  31. hjhornbeck says

    Also hjhornbeck, hey when people go to skeptics conferences they sometimes wear ‘I’m a skeptic’ T-shirts.

    I’ve been to a skeptic conference, and didn’t notice a single one. I saw a few logos of skeptical organizations, usually with a nice quote from Carl Sagan or Richard Dawkins, but that’s not the same thing. Can you point me to an example of someone other that Hall wearing an “I’m a Skeptic” T-shirt, other than at that specific TAM?

    • mofa says

      hjhornbeck, there are dozens and dozens of these types of conferences all over the world every year. I’ve seen plenty of people wearing T-shirts declaring their scepticism or atheism at these events. They wear it with pride on the way to the conference through the rush hour and they wear it with pride at the conference. Take your head out of the sand.

  32. A Hermit says

    Sure, different strokes for different folks; but the key here is figuring out what “strokes” are acceptable to the person in front of you. The elevator story illustrates a case where someone made her feelings about being propositioned at conferences quite clear, and expressed her desire to go to bed and get some sleep before a long day coming up and the guy ignores all of that clearly expressed preference and hits on her anyway.

    So the “guys, don’t do that” doesn’t mean “never ask a woman for coffee” as the Watson haters like to pretend it does. It means “guys, don’t ignore women’s clearly expressed wishes and treat them as if those clearly expressed wishes don’t matter.”

    That’s a very different message than the one she is accused of spreading don’t you think?

    • mofa says

      How do you know what imformation ‘elevator guy’ was privy to? What he may have heard or not heard?

      • says

        Rebecca covered that in detail quite a long time ago now.
        Also, it’s a nitpicky detail that doesn’t particularly matter to the point. The whole elevator thing was just an example of the idea of paying attention to and empathizing with the desires and situations of others – if you care about their feelings and their attendance at events.

        If you have such a difficult time grasping the idea that it’s not nice to creep people out, and likely to discourage them from coming to conferences, and that cornering someone smaller than you in an enclosed space with no help around might creep them out – you should really limit your exposure to other people for their/our benefit.

        • mofa says

          Certainly from the initial video Rebecca made, which explained the whole story, there was no information provided that would give you or anyone else confidence in knowing what information ‘elevator guy’ was privy to. And this issue of what imformation ‘elevator guy’ was privy to is imortant in the context of my reply to A Hermit’s comment…so don’t brush it aside and call it ‘nitpicky detail’ because A Hermit was making a point the Rebecca had made it clear to all (that heard her say it) that she was tired and wanted to go to bed. A Hermit is ready to demonise ‘elevator guy’ because an assumption is made that ‘elevator guy’ had heard what Rebecca had said. Maybe he missed what she had said. Maybe he was in the bathroom at the time or in deep conversation with another person. ‘Elevator guy’ needs to be given the benifit of the doubt and not be made a scapegoat to push some agenda. Then again ‘elevator guy’ might not even exist! But I will, in this case, give RW the benifit of the doubt. Only ‘psychics’ know for sure and with out a doubt what was in elevator guy’s head at the time and what his intentions were when he invited her for a chat and coffee. Are you a psychic?

          • says

            You’re still blatantly missing the point.
            ElevatorGuy wasn’t being demonized. His name has never been given. He wasn’t accused of much of anything.
            The video was just about an example of what not to do if you care about whether women will feel comfortable at conventions and bother to come.

            A few months after that at one of our local Skeptics in the Pub events we had a talk by a young woman who’s an event organizer and she gave some other examples of creepy behavior that she and others she knows had experienced.
            For example, one woman stopped going to skeptic conventions after going to two of them and being followed out in to the parking lot at night by men who wanted to hit on her. I’d be a bit creeped out too out alone in the dark and some large man came approaching me, and I have less reason to be wary.

            I’m not seeing women asking for laws to be passed, for men to be jailed for being creepy. At most for events to kick out egregious violators from events. Mostly they’re just asking men to have a little more empathy and social awareness to not do creepy things. Like corner women in a closed box, or approach them in an empty parking lot, when they’re alone and vulnerable.

          • mofa says

            Elevator guy has received, maybe not so much from Rebecca herself, but endless vitriol from the other side of the ‘divide’ and he HAS been demonised ( I only go on about it because you play the whole thing down to strengthen your argument – you are an “elevator guy demonisation denialist”)…but what does it matter, he may not even exist and if he does no one knows who he is including Rebecca Watson (she can’t remember his face I have read). You then go on to quote anecdotal evidence (2nd hand) to support your case that ‘creepy’ guys hang out at skeptics conferences. Not good enough. Lets ask all who experience ‘creepy’ behaviour to report it to event organisers, and lets meet in 1 year and examine the data collected. No? Is that too difficult? Okay lets just declare what the state of the matter is based not on reports but what someone said, first, second or third hand and what someone wanted to hear.

          • A Hermit says

            http://freethoughtblogs.com/aronra/2013/01/09/the-foundational-oft-repeated-fallacies-of-sexism-deniers/#comment-14160

            Certainly from the initial video Rebecca made, which explained the whole story, there was no information provided that would give you or anyone else confidence in knowing what information ‘elevator guy’ was privy to.

            That was the whole point of the story; “elevator guy” is an example of someone ignoring clearly stated boundaries. She’s pretty clear that she felt he had heard the message.

            And for gobs sake, what do you think an invitation to “coffee” in a hotel room at 4Am is really about? Coffee? Are you really that naive?
            Skepticism and incredulity are not the same thing. You would do well to learn the difference…

            A Hermit is ready to demonise ‘elevator guy’…

            Really? How am I “demonizing” anyone here? At worst he was insensitive, a bit clueless. I don;t think that rises to the level of “demonizing…”

  33. says

    It is a political ideology based on disputed hypotheses…

    …which you fail to specify.

    …and plenty of empathetic, compassionate humanists disagree with what feminists are trying to do.

    Who are these compassionate humanists, and what, exactly, are tehy disagreeing with?

    You cannot write us all of as unfeeling beasts.

    A lot of us are writing you off as uncaring idiots, which is not exactly the same thing.

    …but they are trying to legislate against being offended, made to feel uncomfortable or being “objectified” which is a step to far.

    Which proposd legislation are you talking about, exactly?

    • says

      Hmmm let me see. Feminism is a political ideology based on disputed hypotheses like the patriarchy, rape culture and the idea that “sexualisation” (EG: Being male and finding a female attractive) = misogyny.

      Who are these compassionate humanists and what are they disagreeing with? Hmmmmm let me see.

      I am a peaceful, compassionate humanist who disagrees that the skeptical community is a dangerous place filled with lecherous misogynists who we need to protect women from. Is that clear enough?

      Also I think DJ Grothe, Michael Schermer, Richard Dawkins, WeisApple, Thunderfoot and many more agree. Are you saying we don’t exist?

      If we are uncaring idiots (Dawkins, Shermer and Grothe are idiots!!! Amazing) what exactly are we being uncaring about?

      Please list the acts of sexual violence, harassment and persecution we have either denied or failed to care about.

      Off you pop.

      • douglas1102 says

        “Feminism is a political ideology based on disputed hypotheses like the patriarchy, rape culture and the idea that “sexualisation” (EG: Being male and finding a female attractive) = misogyny.”

        Nope… it’s the belief women deserve equal rights. (that’s your first problem right there) and that’s not what “misogyny means either… it means you hate women. For example: you’re a misogynist for forcefully misrepresenting the term “feminism”. You do it because you hate women, not because you don’t understand the meaning of the term.

        “Please list the acts of sexual violence, harassment and persecution we have either denied or failed to care about.”

        Why? So you can deny them and fail to care about them again??? No thanks… making demands isn’t going to work any more than my demands to you have worked.

        Explain why you keep bringing up free thought and “irony” and maybe I’ll consider it.

        • says

          In theory feminism is the belief in gender equality, I never said otherwise. I said it is ‘based on’ these hypotheses. Read before you type.

          Everything else you wrote is about as logical and reality based as me saying you denied the rape of a man because you love carrots and grow them in your underpants

          If no one can list evidence of the terrible situation for women in the secular movement we will just write you all off as a bunch of nutters. As “free thinkers” you should realise evidence is all that matters.

          • A Hermit says

            Jen McCreight gives us an idea of what it;s liek for some women in the secular movement:

            http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/08/how-i-unwittingly-infiltrated-the-boys-club-why-its-time-for-a-new-wave-of-atheism/

            I’ve always considered myself a feminist, but I used to be one of those teenagers who assumed the awesome ladies before me had solved everything. But Boobquake made me wake up. What I originally envisioned as an empowering event about supporting women’s freedoms and calling out dangerous superstitious thinking devolved into “Show us your tits!” I received sexual invitations from strangers around the country. When I appeared or spoke at atheist events, there was always a flood of comments about my chest and appearance. I’ve been repeatedly told I can never speak out against people objectifying or sexually harassing me because a joke about my boobs was eternal “consent.”

            So I started speaking up about dirty issues like feminism and diversity and social justice because I thought messages like “please stop sexually harassing me” would be simple for skeptics and rationalists. But I was naive. Like clockwork, every post on feminism devolved into hundreds of comments accusing me being a man-hating, castrating, humorless, ugly, overreacting harpy. Despite the crap I received, I continued to publicly support these movements and stress that the haters were just a tiny minority. I thought this flood of sexism I had never experienced before was just a consequence of me growing up and heading out into the real world, and had nothing to do with these movements in particular. I can’t count how many times I publicly stressed that the atheist/skeptical movement, while not perfect, is still a safer place for women and other minorities.

            But now I recognize that I was trying to convince myself that this is true.

            If you look around a little and read the comments form women you’ll find other examples. This is n’t an imaginary problem, it’s real and the denialism coming from some quarters is not helping to fix the problem.

  34. says

    But Rebecca, what you think is or is not appropriate is only your own personal opinion. You do not represent all women on this planet.

    Who do YOU represent, and what makes you the authority on who someone else may or may not speak for?

    • mofa says

      I represent myself, I speak for myself only….the same with Rebecca…..what makes you the authority on who Rebecca speaks for?

    • says

      Well, I don’t want to sound condescending, but if you predicted it would be discussed disproportionately, why did you bring it up in the first place? I am seriously baffled by this. At every turn, I’ve actually tried to NOT talk about ElevatorGate because as far as I’m concerned, it’s a non-issue. By rights, it should have blown over by now, and we all know the reason why (hint: it’s not “us”) – but it hasn’t and this article – isn’t – helping.

      Oh, why do I even bother? Nevermind.

      • says

        There is a real issue that the OP is about sexism denialism. The people who are misrepresenting ElevatorGate and talking about it as if it is thought of as harassment are usually sexism deniers. Sometimes no amount of help like debunking bad information is going to get through to someone in denial. That is not who I wrote this for, I wrote it for people who need more information to make up their minds.

        • mofa says

          I would not think that there would be many ‘sexism deniers’ on either side of the ‘divide’. From my position I can see rampant sexism being perpetrated on this Blog and others on a daily basis. For example the concept that all men are potential rapists is one of the most heinous and sexist concepts being propagated currently.There is a lot of sexism out there and we are all aware of it.

          • says

            Give me an example of sexism from this blog. Quote me where I said all men are potential rapists. If you can’t do the honest thing and admit there is no such thing here.

            There it is folks the “I know you are but what am I stratagem”.

          • says

            “For example the concept that all men are potential rapists is one of the most heinous and sexist concepts being propagated currently.”

            I can assure you that this concept is only being propagated as a straw man by the haters. I haven’t seen any feminists around places like Freethought Blogs making that claim.

            The ‘potential rapists’ thing is *not* the claim that all men might rape if given the opportunity.
            It is merely pointing out that women can’t tell the rapists from the non-rapists merely at a glance. It’s a prevalent enough concern that many will view you warily until they get to know you well enough to be comfortable that you’re not a rapist (assuming, of course, that you’re the non-rapist sort – or good at pretending not to be a rapist).
            So the point is that, if you wish to be spending time with women, perhaps you should take a little extra care not to give off signals that you might be a rapist.

          • douglas1102 says

            Heck, I’ll say it… all men are potential rapists the same way all people are potential murderers and the same way all dogs could potentially bite you. (yes… obviously there’s rare exceptions)

            I’m a man and I don’t take offense to that… just because I could potentially rape someone doesn’t mean I’m going to.

            The point is that when you’re vulnerable in certain situations you have to accept that… if you take that as offense then that’s your childish problem.

            It’s called empathy… try considering another persons point of view and stop being so damned selfish.

          • mofa says

            I appologise lilandra, I did not mean your blog, I was referring to Freethought blogs. ‘Schrodinger’s rapist’ has been promoted by bloggers on Freethought Blogs. So I am sincere with my appology lilandra.
            But on to John-Henry, to promote that all men are potential rapists is sexism and if the article simply says that women can’t tell who is a rapist, then telling women that ‘women can’t tell which men are rapists’ is also sexist. You must be aware John-Henry that a number of babies are being killed each year in microwaves, and it is women who mainly do this horrible act (just google and find out there are plenty of cases). What would women think if a paper called ‘Schrodinger’s microwave baby killer’ was to be published…would it make you think twice about leaving your toddler with the female child care worker each morning at drop off before work?, especially if there was a microwave oven in the kitchen? Because just like you can’t tell which man is a rapist, so it goes, you can’t tell which woman is going to put a baby in a microwave oven.

          • jackiepaper says

            Mofa, how often do women put babies in microwaves as opposed to how often a woman is raped by a man? It is not sexist in any way to state the fact that women cannot know which man is a rapist and which is not. Rapists don’t wear signs. They don’t twirl mustaches. In fact, they are most likely to be an trusted acquaints or a family member than a stranger. Thems the facts. If you think men are upset by them, you should try being a woman living with this reality every single day of her life. This is not sexist conjecture on the part of women, it is the reality we are forced to recognize in order to keep ourselves safe in a society that blames us for being preyed upon. Your comparison fails, as does your compassion.
            Lilandra, do you really appreciate that Mofa wasn’t smearing you with his twisted rebuttal of Schrodinger’s Rapist, just other honest bloggers? Color me shocked.

          • jackiepaper says

            Lilandra, there is a saying, “When you are kind to the cruel, you are cruel to the kind.” Your “Much appreciated!” response to the suggestion that acknowledging that men are far more likely to rape and women cannot know who is and is not a rapist until it is too late is tantamount to assuming any woman might be lying in wait to nuke your children with a household appliance was far too kind to Mofa and far too cruel to women and your fellow bloggers.

            But I’m sure some mean ol feminist made poor Mofa into this slobbering MRA twit. Thank goodness you are here to be a credit to your gender by being so very nice to him.

          • says

            I appreciated the apology for saying I posted sexist things. Should have been more clear. I don’t appreciate the other part of the statement.

          • jackiepaper says

            Gah! I’m so sorry. Totally misread the thread. I’m going to put myself on internet blackout for a while. This shit is really getting to me. My fault. I should know better than to try to get involved in a discussion like this right now. (Too much stuff online and irl.) My mind is like a steel trap at this point. Anything coming out of it is mangled beyond all recognition.

    • says

      Lilandra said “Amazingly we have wound up discussing Elevatorgate disproportionately as the OP predicted”

      How prophetic of you!

      That is because thus far the only “evidence” put forward of the rampant sexism in the atheist community are Elevatorgate, some nasty youtube comments, some fake jewelry and a t-shirt.

      When you guys show that there really is a serious culture of sexism in the atheist community not only will we be discussing that instead of the vapid Elevatorgate, much of the opposition you are experiencing will fade away.

      So do yourselves a favour and give us evidence for this illusive persecution you are all campaigning against.

      • says

        There’s really no shortage of evidence. Women are posting examples all over the place in the last year or so.
        You can go to the Skepchick site, for example, and look up their ‘Page of Hate’ for a nice long string of examples.

        But at this point I’m pretty convinced that you won’t have any empathy for mere unrelenting harassment and bigotry. I’m sure you’ll clarify that you demand to see felony-level assault and rape, and then demand the police reports and conviction records, and so on before showing the remotest empathy.

        • says

          John if you are referring to internet trolls saying nasty things to Rebecca Watson and her crew then I agree with you that is shitty but it hardly equates to a culture of rampant sexism which needs a campaign to combat it. Men have to deal with internet trolls as well you know.

          I never said sexism needed to be a felony to be taken seriously, if women at atheist gatherings were made to sit at the back or banned from being key note speakers I would join you in your righteous indignation but as far as I can see there is no overt discrimination based on gender and no culture of sexual violence against women at these gatherings. There really is no substance to your anger apart from a clumsy proposition, some fake jewelry, a t-shirt and some internet trolling.

          At this point I’m pretty convinced that your level of empathy for these poor oppressed women is so high that you would like to ban anything which could even be construed as offensive.

          I’m glad I don’t have you in our corner fighting for freedom of speech and conscience.

  35. XitStrategy says

    To begin with, that this discussion is taking place can only be for the good. Progress from a vacuum is both difficult and unlikely, and even though it may feel like swimming through treacle at times, it is still progress. Bottom line: Women do not share status equal to that of men. Everything stems from this. Everything from the appalling sexism of anonymity, to the arrogant grandstanding of podium. Extremes? Yes. From both sides? Yes. But… dialog? Yes. And that can only be for the good. Right?

    Amongst the humble skillset of a skeptic lies the ability to discern with reason. We all wear it with pride, and eagerly trumpet the triumphs it aims squarely at our laps. How many discussions have we planted the flag of victory in, laughing at the defeated and bloodied corpses of those enemies of logic we slayed in the name of reason? Victory! Isn’t that what it’s about? Well, not so fast there. This isn’t a battle, or even a war. Such goals produce winners, which by logic also produces losers, casualties, injury, and disability. It fosters a school of thought so readily embraced by those without the gift of reason – victory makes the enemy disappear. As if aiming a nuke at an incoming asteroid will be a victory for Earth. As if “kill all the muzzas!” will be a victorious mantra for a Christian nation. As if denying healthcare to the poor will be a victory for the over-taxed rich. Nope. None of the above makes the ‘enemy’ disappear. None of us would adopt such reckless logic. Would we?

    For some time now I have watched the sexism debates rage on, each side battling from a high ground, welding a powerful arsenal of logic and reason against one helluva ogre enemy. The olden day flag bearing and assertion of deity X on your side has been replaced by round after round of pin the logical fallacy on the donkey. All too often though, the pin itself is also a logical fallacy. It is a game that cannot be won. It has become a new twist on circular logic – logic that defeats itself. Logic that, although correct in every regard to the matter in hand, is antithetical to the end-game of the discussion.

    Extremism best serves no cause. For want of a better example, the PZ vs. Thunderf00t fire stands out. Both cling to a zero tolerance mantra that has a net result of excluding both from any mainstream that may emerge, not for a desire to stay outside a mainstream, but simply because the extremism they so tightly bind to creates a barrier to their recognition of each other. Anything that is in the mainstream, by its very nature, is not zero tolerant. It quite simple cannot be considered, and worse, must be demonized. There is a sizable middle ground at play in this discussion, and that is where progress is being made. Some of those in that middle ground may fall on the side of PZ, some on the side of Thunderf00t. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this since there are valid points that are being reasoned, and the differences will lean, in varying degrees, to the extremes. However, the figureheads of those extremes have effectively prohibited themselves from even considering such weak middle ground stances.

    So, where am I going with this in regard to the actual post? Well, Lilandra, your musings on this particular subject have been in my view outstanding. You are forwarding the dialog in the direction of positive without a doubt. It does dismay me somewhat though to see a post that is in essence entering the game that cannot be won. I’m not being critical, just expressing my own personal dismay. I want to see this issue progress beyond the extremism that has fueled irrelevance within it for so long now, and where better than to comment here. Yes, sexism exists. Yes, there is progress. Let’s not take the proverbial two steps back by playing that silly, and un-winnable game of cuddling the extremes.

  36. says

    *Why* did you suddenly choose to delve into this, lilandra? It’s not helping. It’s not productive. You’re adding to the shit already stuck on the fan. So my genuine question to you is: why?

    • mandrellian says

      The flippant answer is because “this is lilandra’s blog”.

      The substantive answer is in comment 43. Real people are being treated like shit and many of us would like that to stop.

      My genuine questions: “why do ‘pitters constantly visit FtB when they clearly hate it so much?” and “why do they so frequently engage in conversation here only to tell people to stop having the conversation?”

      • says

        What is a Pitter?

        As for your question as to why people come here to confront this lunacy. It is for the same reason why real skeptics and free thinkers like to debate the religious.

        We see people making outrageous claims and trying to change the way society works based on claims which lack evidence.

        Kind of like a red rag to the skeptic bull. The fact you are all flying under the banner of free thought, skepticism and atheism whilst you plumb the depths of dogmatic irrationality is just insult to injury. That is why people come here to challenge you.

        Like I have said already. If you can bring some evidence that there is a serious problem with sexism and misogyny by citing repeated serious harassment and or assault I will gladly join you in condemning it. Until then we will continue to assume the worst.

        • douglas1102 says

          ” Until then we will continue to assume the worst.”

          Finally some honesty from you (emphasis on “assume”)

        • douglas1102 says

          “Coming from a rape denier that’s rich”

          I’m neither rich nor a a rape denier. I’m guessing you took the other MRA’s claim to have been raped seriously despite ZERO EVIDENCE and despite an obvious reason to lie about it. This is why you’re a misogynist… a man makes an obviously fake claim and you eat it right up and when a woman makes a reasonable claim you cry MOAR EVIDENCE!!!

          “the only thing to do when someone has zero evidence for their claim is to think the worst”

          That’s could be the dumbest non sequitur I’ve heard here yet.

          • says

            Oh dear, logic is not your strong point.

            For a start you assume someone you know nothing about other than a few paragraphs on a forum is an MRA just because they disagree with you yet you lecture me about my usage of the term strawman.

            The rest of your post is just absolute lunacy.

            You are exhibiting unbelievable stupidity and inability to deal with the complexity of reality.

            For you a man you have never met is a liar yet you accuse me of needing more evidence from female rape victims.

            When did anyone make a rape charge that I called for more evidence of?

            So far the only things I have asked for more evidence of is this illusive rampant sexism in the atheist community.

            No one has made any rape allegations for me to “cry MOAR EVIDENCE!!!”.

            So far we have only been discussing Elevatorgate (no rape, violence or sexual assault involved), fake jewelry, a t-shirt and some internet trolling.

            What are you talking about you loon?

        • douglas1102 says

          “Oh dear, logic is not your strong point.”
          “The rest of your post is just absolute lunacy.”
          “You are exhibiting unbelievable stupidity and inability to deal with the complexity of reality.”

          That’s all unbacked opinion, and that makes you a jackass.

        • douglas1102 says

          You took an anecdote from a man as fact yet you cry “more evidence” whenever evidence is presented to you when it comes to more credible claims from women.

          Who do you think you’re fooling anyway? You’re a misogynist and there’s no point in reasoning with someone that has an irrational hatred of women.

          I would say you’re a moron but it’s not idiocy… it’s hatred. The problem isn’t that you’re too stupid the problem is that you’re an ass.

  37. says

    The mudslinging is obscuring a real problem, the way women are treated in the secular community. There needs to be a discussion of the substantive problems that needs to happen. You need to stop shushing people and listen.

    • says

      Lilandra please list all of the injustices women have to deal with in the secularist movement. Then maybe we can deal with them and put this hornets nest to bed.

      So far apart from petty issues like Elevatorgate, some nasty youtube comments, fake jewelry and a t-shirt I have yet to hear anything of substance.

      • says

        Do you understand that you appear to be taking the position that no level of harassment short of specific instances of felony assault should be taken seriously? That we as a movement and community should not even lift a finger to try to stop slurs, sexism, and harassment if it isn’t serious enough to involve the police?

        Do you understand that this makes you appear to be a complete asshole with an utter lack of empathy for your fellow skeptics, atheists, and humans generally?

        The idea that you could show such callous disregard for people who have faced and continue to face significantly more harassment, discrimination, and general restrictions from the culture at large sure doesn’t inspire me with confidence that you’d have my back either should I face attacks or harassment.

        Personally, I want to see a large and growing movement that will make our society much more rational so we can make it a better society to live in. We sure don’t welcome new people joining if we allow a culture of unchecked bigotry and harassment. I, a straight white guy, wouldn’t feel terribly comfortable or welcome in such an environment either.

        • says

          Umm no I’m not but clumsy propositions and fake jewelry are nothing to get hot under the collar about unless you are a withering flower and I like to think in terms of equality. Women can stand up to these minor infractions just like men.

          That is far more feminist than any of this righteous indignation over hurt feelings. Sexual harassment is a crime. rape is a crime but you people are campaigning against clumsy propositions and t-shirts.

          Do you realise how silly, pathetic and idiotic you all seem starting a movement to combat awkward moments or hurt feelings?

          Your post is an admission that there really is no substance to this issue other than people trying to eradicate minor hurt feelings and mild social discomfort.

          Well done

          PS: Once again please cite any serious sexism or harassment even if it doesn’t constitute a felony I would be interested to see the level of injustice you consider worthy of fighting.

          • says

            Lilandra you are correct I am denying that a clumsy proposition, fake jewelry, a t-shirt and some internet trolls constitutes a serious sexist culture in the skeptic community.

            Is it your contention that these minor infractions (I agree that many of the internet trolls are most likely saying sexist things but that has more to do with the culture of the internet than the skeptic community) constitute serious sexism in the skeptical community?

            If so I wave my hand and thank you for proving my point about the lack of substance to your claims.

          • douglas1102 says

            It’s not a “clumsy proposition” “fake jewelry” a “t-shirt” or “some internet trolls” the fact you describe it as such demonstrates “a serious sexist culture in the skeptic community”

            Why do you think it’s so important that people convince you? No one cares if you’re convinced.

    • says

      To lilandra: Then maybe you could provide some substantive evidence to support your assertions. I’m still wondering why you decided to delve into this issue now, since I figured you and Aron were clever enough to stay out of the bullshit that’s accumulated. But since you’re here, I might as well ask: what proof do you have that women are being treated badly in the atheist/sceptic community? Surely you musn’t be talking about the occasional offhand comment here and there, the occasional trollish comment here and there, you must be talking about a systematic oppression within the atheist/sceptic community. So, show us your findings. Because you’re not seriously suggesting that some YouTube comments about Rebecca Watson is proof that women are being ill treated, are you? Not that criticising Rebecca Watson harshly or otherwise is proof of anything in the realm of sexism or misogyny anyway, unless you’re also suggesting we treat women differently because they’re women?

      If I call Rebecca Watson a fraud and a huckster, am I somehow calling women frauds and hucksters across the board? No? Then perhaps you need better documentation, lilandra. Where is this widespread condemnation of women within the atheist/sceptic community that you speak of? I see that you think we should speak more about the way women are treated in the secular community (treated badly, I presume, by the nature of this blog post) but I notice that you’re not suggesting anything yourself what to do about it, it’s just platitude and nothing really constructive. You also claim we’re shushing people (and by people I assume you mean women) and unsurprisingly, there is no evidence for that either. I sure as hell am not shushing people (or women for that matter), in fact I’m very interested in what you have to say. Although whenever I express my interest for a woman to prove her assertions of oppression, they soon double down and accuse me of being a misogynist, sexist, a hypersceptic, whatever, and the questions asked and the manner in which it’s asked is similar to the way I’m asking you right now, so you have to admit that kind of rhetoric also isn’t helping.

      The irony is that for this post, I will likely be bogged down by comments saying the exact same thing – probably by douglas or someone with the same mindframe. Feel free to prove me wrong.

      • says

        I am wasting no more time on concern trolls. Your comments demonstrate to you have no real wish to discuss this but to handwave any evidence that is presented to you.

        From wikipedia…

        A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user claims to hold. The concern troll posts in Web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group’s actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed “concerns”. The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.[22]

        Your comment..

        To lilandra: Then maybe you could provide some substantive evidence to support your assertions. I’m still wondering why you decided to delve into this issue now, since I figured you and Aron were clever enough to stay out of the bullshit that’s accumulated. But since you’re here, I might as well ask: what proof do you have that women are being treated badly in the atheist/sceptic community? Surely you musn’t be talking about the occasional offhand comment here and there, the occasional trollish comment here and there, you must be talking about a systematic oppression within the atheist/sceptic community. So, show us your findings.

        and

        Although whenever I express my interest for a woman to prove her assertions of oppression, they soon double down and accuse me of being a misogynist, sexist, a hypersceptic, whatever, and the questions asked and the manner in which it’s asked is similar to the way I’m asking you right now, so you have to admit that kind of rhetoric also isn’t helping.

  38. mofa says

    Freethought Blogs have some interesting writers, some not so interesting. You can’t possibly agree with everything that every blogger has to say. Disagreement can be healthy. It is wise to have an understanding of the arguments against your own position. So ‘pitters’ may visit FtB because they enjoy reading some of the bloggers and enjoy, at the same time, interaction with allies and adversaries on controversial topics. This is healthy for skepticism to bring different points of view to the table is it not?

  39. says

    Please cite any (any at all) sexism or harassment (even if it doesn’t constitute a felony) I would be interested to see the level of protection you deem women need and what level of control you would expect on speech and thought in your crusade to shelter helpless womankind from any unpleasantness.

  40. says

    Lilandra you are correct I am denying that a clumsy proposition, fake jewelry, a t-shirt and some internet trolls constitutes a serious sexist culture in the skeptic community.

    Is it your contention that these minor infractions (I agree that many of the internet trolls are most likely saying sexist things but that has more to do with the culture of the internet than the skeptic community) constitute serious sexism in the skeptical community?

    If so I wave my hand and thank you for proving my point about the lack of substance to your claims.

    I know that you have been told before, and you are minimizing how women are treated online by members of the skeptical community. You are exhibit A for a sexism denier as outlined in the OP.

    • says

      No I agreed with you that many internet trolls have been targeting Watson and co with sexist comments but if your evidence of a serious sexist problem for skeptical women only extends to internet trolling then you really don’t have a leg to stand on.

      • says

        You should know by now especially if you are going to deny there is any evidence for a problem with sexism. I posted the link below this comment.

    • says

      Come off it. You know as well as I do that Oliver’s comments are neither sexism nor denying sexism in any way. Are you saying that the comments Rebecca Watson received on YouTube were all designed to criticise her in a sexist manner? Are you saying that all criticism of women in the atheist/sceptic community are all designed to be sexist? If you are, then I’m going have to say, respectfully, that you’re full of shit. And no, I don’t say that because you’re a woman; I say that because your assertions have little to back it up (if any), and as a fellow sceptic and freethinker you shouldn’t think that kind of argument would hold water.

      I can’t believe that the wife of Aron Ra, someone I respect, would utter such nonsense.

      • Ray N says

        Freethinker,huh?Yet, you probably see nothing wrong or wayward with your saying with emphasis on a “‘wife’ of AronRa” essentially while placing lilandra in an inferior position in that she deserves no respect without AronRa, whom you DO respect, and she doesn’t measure up and, so therefore she utters nonsense, right? Bill Maher says Sarah Palin is dumb not because she’s a woman but because she’s dumb; lilandra in no way can fit your little, ‘it’s not cuz’ you’re a waman, it’s just that women can’t think anyway, in spite of her assertions, right? So, be specific, what are lilandra’s assertions, one, is that RWatson’s comments got blown way out of proportion, that sexism against women is not as obvious as falling out of bed is, that there are nuances in sexism whether about men or women, just more obvious where women are concerned. Has a woman yelled sexist remarks as you walk down the street as she does construction work she yells to you, a man, ‘Hey Baby, you and me let’s make some copies’
        I doubt you would grasp it, Pitch…, if she complied with your little charade of required evidence that met your terms. She’d still be ‘just the wife of AronRa, and deserve no respect on her own, since you seem to think she somehow is connected to him bodily, so when he thinks it gives her the ability otherwise she’s a doorknob.

  41. says

    Lilandra you are correct I am denying that a clumsy proposition, fake jewelry, a t-shirt and some internet trolls constitutes a serious sexist culture in the skeptic community.

    Is it your contention that these minor infractions (I agree that many of the internet trolls are most likely saying sexist things but that has more to do with the culture of the internet than the skeptic community) constitute serious sexism in the skeptical community?

    If so I wave my hand and thank you for proving my point about the lack of substance to your claims.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2012/06/15/harassment-policies-campaign-timeline-of-major-events/ Bon Appetit!

    • says

      Once again, I’m perplexed. You’ve never spoken about this before (or you have, just not on this blog) and now you choose to speak up, and when you’re asked for evidence to support your claims you link back to Lousy Canuck? Who I’m sure has no prejudice or bias to speak of, and who links to other Freethoughtbloggers, Skepchick and other affiliates he’s associated with, because I’m sure they have no axe to grind in the pursuit of truth. Is this the mind of a sceptic these days?

      If that’s not enough to assuade, he even adds his own propagandaic rhetoric in between.

      • Ray N says

        Naturally, but, of course, you have no axe to grind, no preconceived notions, no biases, notions you’re ignorant of that you want others to provide you with evidence for. Perplexed are you, ever hear of the argument from incredulity? yep that’s you. She’s never spoke of it before therefore she’s not allowed to now, even though ‘SHE’s is also a Freethinker/Atheist with her own ability to form…you know…words and letters and some semblance of English sentences of readability. You, Pitch, I wonder about even that. You really are comical, all around you are biased..but you’re not; all around you has an axe to grind…but you do not; all around you has an imagination but you don’t you’re amazed and it’s all incredible as you have NO imagination. etc.

  42. says

    Amazing, I stand corrected. A campaign against sexist comments on the internet. Wow you guys have such a tough life being oppressed by internet trolls and atheist speakers who have been “problematic”

    • says

      That is some hard core, determined, expert level sexism denial right there. And utter lack of empathy for others.
      I was miserable as a kid from bullying and harassment much less sustained than what those women are going through.
      I don’t see how you can think of yourself as anything approaching a decent person if you think that this sort of harassment should be dismissed and ignored simply because it’s on the Internet. Maybe that would fly in the 1980s when it was easy to get by without the Internet. But, really, that ceased being remotely a valid response somewhere in the 90s.

    • says

      You didn’t read the entire post as you left out the women who were harassed at conferences. I am not wasting any more time on you as you are arguing dishonestly. Additionally, you are exhibiting trolling behavior. Concede your error or stop wasting everyone’s time.

      • says

        You are right I didn’t read the whole tedious thing itemizing ever minor disagreement with Skepchiks and calling it sexism or harassment. Also I never stated that there had never been any sexist guys at a conference or that no one had ever been hassled. What I asked for was a list of serious issues. You posted a massive list of legitimate disagreements, some trolling and a couple of incidents.

        Not exactly worth a witch hunt

        • says

          This is just as interesting and enlightening as watching a creationist demanding more transitional fossils and insisting that thousands of small changes being witnessed is no evidence for larger changes over time.
          It’s really, really difficult to see Oliver as any sort of honest debater or, for that matter, decent person.

        • douglas1102 says

          Again you’re given evidence and again you dismiss it, now it’s time for you to be dismissed as well.

          “What I asked for was a list of serious issues”

          “Serious issues” as defined by you. The nerve is unbelievable, next time you find yourself confronted with a “serious issue” swing by here so we can decide for you whether or not it’s a “serious issue”

        • says

          If Dawkins says Elevartorgate is not sexism or oppression that is a legitimate difference of opinion so should not be in any list of so called sexism.

          If Shermer, Grothe and Thunderfoot disagree with you they shouldn’t be highlighted as instances of misogyny.

          We can all call out the drunk wanker at TAM as a bad guy but you are seeking to tie drunk guy, elevator guy, internet trolls and your legitimate critics together to prove that you are oppressed and need protection. It’s too petty and feeble for words.

          I condemn the drunk guy and have sympathy for his targets but it’s in the past and the fact that the police weren’t called probably means the victims weren’t interested in taking the matter further yet you guys are carrying out an ideological witch hunt for misogynists under the bed.

          It’s called hysteria

          PS: I have been insulted and physically attacked a few times in my life but I realized they were isolated incidents. I didn’t connect the invisible dots and come up with misandry, homophobia, transphobia or any other kind of gender studies/feminist theory umbrella term to blame wider society with. Grow up.

        • douglas1102 says

          “Oh baby Douglas. You are so pure, so compassionate, I must be evil.”

          I know you think patronizing me in such a lame way makes you feel clever but everyone else just sees a jackass.

          “I’m still waiting for a list not a one off incident and some internet comments.”

          You’re going to be waiting a long time… get in line behind the guys waiting for more transitional fossils.

          And again… why do you think anyone cares if you’re convinced? No really… why? You’re not the benchmark for rationality.

        • A Hermit says

          So you demand evidence, then refuse to look at it…

          One might almost suspect you are not being entirely honest in your approach here…O.0

  43. hjhornbeck says

    hjhornbeck, there are dozens and dozens of these types of conferences all over the world every year. I’ve seen plenty of people wearing T-shirts declaring their scepticism or atheism at these events.

    I asked for evidence, not opinion. If these shirts are as plentiful as you say there are, it should have been a trivial to point me to evidence of them. Will you now do so?

    • mofa says

      This is not a scientific experiment. You want evidence that proves that people at a conference wear T-shirts that might comment on the actual subject that is being talked about at the conference?! Sorry I can’t give you that. I sould have taken photos but I never thought, in my wildest dreams, that I would have to prove such a mundane thing to a person in the future. I was at the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne last year,. There were 4000 attendees, there were hundreds of people there with T-shirts on displaying their atheism. I was there and you were not (I presume) and you will have to take my word for it. But prove it to you?…no I don’t think so. It is so easy to stifle debate with such ridiculous tactics, you probably have a box full of them but you are bringing them out at the wrong time. Sure, if someone makes a scientific claim, or a statistical claim you should ask for the evidence or the peer reviewed paper, but when it comes to what I saw at a convention and what you can plainly see if you go to any convention, or rock show, or conference, or demonstration etc. alot of people wear T-shirts and alot of these T-shirts have meassages on them. Open your eyes. Or is it that you want to play tricks to win an argument?

      • ildi says

        This is not a scientific experiment. You want evidence that proves that people at a conference wear T-shirts that might comment on the actual subject that is being talked about at the conference?! Sorry I can’t give you that.

        Ironymeter! HULK SMASH!!

  44. hjhornbeck says

    Please list the acts of sexual violence, harassment and persecution we have either denied or failed to care about.

    Sure thing!

    there’ve been no reports of such harassment the last two TAMs while I’ve been at the JREF, nor any reports filed with authorities at any other TAMs of which I’m aware. – DJ Goethe

    Which is weird because I was sexually harassed by a guy last year at the TAM9 speaker’s reception, as were some other women, and the guy was kicked out for it. And I was told that it was DJ himself who made him leave. – Ashley Miller

    Instead, DJ is so committed to his idea that harassment never happens and it’s all just made up in order to drive women away from his conference that he gaslights Ashley, telling her that she isn’t remembering properly. He tells her that she only assumed it was a JREF member who removed the man, despite the fact that Ashley remembered DJ himself participating. There are at least six people who say they witnessed the event. One says she personally congratulated DJ after it was done. One says he tagged DJ on Facebook in a congratulatory comment. – Rebecca Watson

    Good enough for you?

    • says

      So one drunk guy who was ejected from the conference. Wow an avalanche of misogyny. Man the barricades and search for sexists under the bed!! In fact instead of carrying out an ideological witch hunt for misogynists across the whole community whilst seeking to protect over sensitive women from mild offense I suggest calling the police next time.

      I’m still waiting for the list of sexism. One off drunk guys do not constitute oppression.

      • douglas1102 says

        This is exactly why people can’t be bothered, because exactly as I predicted… as soon as evidence is shown to you it’s dismissed and you cry “nope more evidence”

        Whether or not you’re convinced isn’t important to anyone.

        • Ray N says

          Doug, kinda reminds me of hardcore Conspiracy birthers like Orly Tatz who when Obama showed his birth certificate, long from, she looked and saw forged docs, and then she went after his college transcripts, it’s a never ending story with those guys, as they bring you into it and make you a part of it…Conspiracy theorists when refuted or shown what they asked for and when presented with it(Obama’s birth certificate was, of course forged) then they accuse the one with the evidence that refutes them as being a part of the Cover-up, a major player in the Conspiracy. Alex Jones comes to mind as he is as loonie as he can be.

          • douglas1102 says

            “Doug, kinda reminds me of hardcore Conspiracy birthers like Orly Tatz who when Obama showed his birth certificate”

            Yes… that’s another great analogy “shifting goalposts” is standard fare for irrational denial.

    • mofa says

      “That evening I went to a presenter’s reception, and got to spend some time hanging out with a lot of awesome people who were going to be speaking, including Debbie Goddard who I had not previously spent much time with. But there was a drunk british guy from Shrewsbury who would not leave me alone. I hate wine breath. And I was not nice to him, but he kept following me. He was so annoying that every time I tried to escape and enter a new conversation, everyone who was in that conversation would leave and leave me stranded.

      He also kept touching me, which I found very disconcerting. Fortunately, I was eventually rescued, and he was asked to leave, but it was pretty gross”.

      The incident you refer to. Drunk man, annoying, touchy (perhaps on the arm?), she was rescued, he was asked to leave. END OF STORY. No one got hurt but she did find it gross. (Would she have found it gross if Ryan Gosling had been that man? Maybe still gross but a little less gross than that ugly Brit).
      We need a harrassment policy to handle this!? It was handled without reference to any policy. Normal sober people can handle these types of occurances satisfactorily through common sense. If alcohol had been banned from this event there would not have been a drunk Brit on the loose. Should we ban alcohol from events? How far are we to go? If this is your best argument for proving we have a harrassment issue then you better start looking for more.

      • douglas1102 says

        Again you’re given evidence and you dismiss it and make assumptions in your favor “touchy (perhaps on the arm?),” <— as if that's acceptable

        You're an asshole… and if you're going to dismiss exactly what you asked for then it's time you were dismissed as well.

        • mofa says

          I never said that touching on the arm or anywhere else is acceptable! I have had drunk women touch me on the arm when I did not want it, but I got out of that situation and that was the end of it. I certainly did not report it to officials, write about it the next day or let it ruin my life. Drunk people get touchy sometimes. It is normally not a sign of a ‘creep’ but the sign of tactile people being drunk. I am all for women or men reporting such behaviour to officials ( It would probably take a little more than a touch on my arm, hand, shoulder or body before I was ready to report someone but that is me. I also support intervention by those people present to remove ‘undesirables’ such as drunk people who are annoying others. And I call you douglas 1102 an asshole back for for implying that I find touching in this situation acceptable.

          • douglas1102 says

            “I never said that touching on the arm or anywhere else is acceptable!”

            Well if it’s not acceptable then there’s you’re evidence, no one is going to sit here giving you more just so you can dismiss it again.

            I also gave you empirical proof that feminists do actively fight for the rights of men.

            Now that I’ve wasted my time doing exactly what you asked for and gave you the benefit of a doubt that you would accept and appreciate the time I spent giving you EMPIRICAL HARD EVIDENCE that you could have just gone and found yourself just so you can dismiss it again I’ve no choice other than to to tell you to go fuck yourself.

            For a minute there I thought you were worth my time but now I can see you’re just going to be an obtuse fuck that’s going to go on hoping you get banned so you can go and cry that you were banned for a having a different opinion.

        • mofa says

          Yes I dismiss this example as being good evidence of a rampant cauldren of harrassment at conferences which maybe keeping women away.

          • douglas1102 says

            “Yes I dismiss this example as being good evidence of a rampant cauldren of harrassment at conferences which maybe keeping women away.”

            Fine, then you’re dismissed.

            The other poster couldn’t have found a better analogy than being exactly like asking for a transitional fossil and then when it’s shown to you you want more and more until someone shows you a billion years worth just for you to dismiss it again.

            Obviously if someone did rape someone at this event you’d still cry for more evidence.

          • mofa says

            Oh Dougy you are getting your nickers in a knot! You have dismissed me? You think you can just throw ‘rape’ in the mix and win the argument!? Pathetic Dougy. A fossil analogy as well! Your post is full of exaggeration and there seems to be quite a lot of it about.

          • douglas1102 says

            Patronizing makes you sound like a braying moron and if you did that in a formal debate you’d be laughed at.

            “You think you can just throw ‘rape’ in the mix and win the argument!?”

            That’s exactly what you did, cry that you were raped and that makes your opinion fact.

          • ildi says

            <blockquote?Your post is full of exaggeration and there seems to be quite a lot of it about.

            I know what you mean! Like this one:

            Yes I dismiss this example as being good evidence of a rampant cauldren of harrassment at conferences which maybe keeping women away.

            After all, this isn’t a science experiment, is it? Oh, wait…

          • A Hermit says

            mofa

            January 12, 2013 at 8:06 am (UTC 0)

            Yes I dismiss this example as being good evidence…

            And here we have an excellent example of typical denialist thinking; demand evidence, then reject that evidence out of hand when it is presented. Any evidence which contradicts the denialist’s worldview in any way will be summarily dismissed as inadequate, false or irrelevant nso matter how relevant and well supported it is.

            We see this from creationists, climate change “skeptics” and Holocaust deniers. And now from the sexism deniers.

      • says

        I am wasting no more time on concern trolls. Your comments demonstrate that you have no real wish to discuss this but to handwave any evidence that is presented to you.

        From wikipedia…

        A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user claims to hold. The concern troll posts in Web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group’s actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed “concerns”. The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.[22]

        Your lack of real concern when presented with evidence is telling.
        Your comment…

        “That evening I went to a presenter’s reception, and got to spend some time hanging out with a lot of awesome people who were going to be speaking, including Debbie Goddard who I had not previously spent much time with. But there was a drunk british guy from Shrewsbury who would not leave me alone. I hate wine breath. And I was not nice to him, but he kept following me. He was so annoying that every time I tried to escape and enter a new conversation, everyone who was in that conversation would leave and leave me stranded.

        He also kept touching me, which I found very disconcerting. Fortunately, I was eventually rescued, and he was asked to leave, but it was pretty gross”.

        The incident you refer to. Drunk man, annoying, touchy (perhaps on the arm?), she was rescued, he was asked to leave. END OF STORY. No one got hurt but she did find it gross. (Would she have found it gross if Ryan Gosling had been that man? Maybe still gross but a little less gross than that ugly Brit).
        We need a harrassment policy to handle this!? It was handled without reference to any policy. Normal sober people can handle these types of occurances satisfactorily through common sense. If alcohol had been banned from this event there would not have been a drunk Brit on the loose. Should we ban alcohol from events? How far are we to go? If this is your best argument for proving we have a harrassment issue then you better start looking for more.

  45. says

    If sexist comments on the internet and “problematic” atheist speakers (In other words prominent atheists who disagree with you) is the closest to oppression you are suffering I would say you have absolutely nowt to worry about. Grow a backbone.

    • says

      So the list has grown I will grant you that. Let me write the list for you all.

      This whole crusade against the evils of sexism in the secular movement has now been narrowed down to.

      1.Elevatorgate (which wasn’t even called harassment by Rebecca Watson and can hardly be considered sexism)
      2. A drunk abusive guy at TAM (which sounds like a serious incident but we don’t know how serious as no report was made)
      3. People disagreeing with Watson, Skepchicks, PZ, Benson etc (this is not sexism it’s called free thought so grow up)
      4. Internet trolling

      So lets distill that to the one cut and dried example of serious harassment.

      1.Drunk idiot at TAM.

      That is your list. Please feel free to expand on the list.

    • says

      This is so nonsensical. I see this pretty much anytime someone complains about bigotry of one kind or another. Why is it “backbone” to say, “This is annoying and perhaps even hurtful to me… and I shall remain silent about it” but somehow it’s not “backbone”–I presume the opposite of having backbone is being weak, right?–to say, “This is annoying and perhaps even hurtful to me… and I shall speak out about how I don’t like it until it goes away.”

  46. says

    Wow. This is still going on? This is the first that I’ve paid much attention to atheist communities in a few years. Quite a while ago, I used to participate on Atheist Nexus and on Dawkin’s site regularly. I stopped because I got sick of the sexism. It looks like far from getting better, it’s gotten worse.

    Femanazi? Really? Is anyone still using that term? Oh, well, I suppose I could just go back into my shell. Thanks for the heads up.

    When people actually want women to join their organizations, give me a holler. The one great thing about being an atheist is that you don’t have to join anything if you don’t want to. Why on earth would I, as a feminist, as an intelligent woman, as a woman who likes math and science, as a person who has many interests and limited time, want to spend my time having these sorts of arguments. If they don’t want feminist atheists as active members of groups in which they participate, that means that they don’t want me. That’s okay.

    • says

      I never used the term Feminazi but lets face facts you lot don’t merely want to make sure people are safe from violence, persecution and exclusion (a cause I would totally be on board with) you want to ensure women are protected from any speech, text, clothing or even thought that might offend the most sensitive of feminists.

      So you have that in common with totalitarian ideologies, your aim is to control speech and thought.

      • says

        Wow, you know a lot about me. I’m impressed. Even I didn’t know that about myself.

        Have you heard the term “recieved wisdom?” Because that’s about the level of knowledge of the various forms of feminism most of the critics of feminisms seem to have. Yes, the word is plural. You’d be surprised how much we disagree with one another. I consider myself a liberal feminist. There are socialist feminists, anarcho-feminists, radical feminists and even conservative feminists, as well as others. We agree on so little that I sometimes wonder how useful the word “feminist” actually is.

        But you’ve missed my larger point. I hear some (emphasis on some) atheist men saying that they don’t want feminists in their clubs. I say, “Fine, I won’t join.” I don’t want that sort of conflict in my life. Arguing with sexist atheists on the internet is one of the least productive things I can imagine doing, and I’ve done more of it today than I’ve done in years and more than I will probably do again for years.

      • says

        I am wasting no more time on concern trolls. Your comments demonstrate you have no real wish to discuss this but to handwave any evidence that is presented to you.

        From wikipedia…


        A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user claims to hold. The concern troll posts in Web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group’s actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed “concerns”. The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.[22]

        Your comments demonstrate rather than a genuine interest to discuss the issue of sexism denialism, you are here to deny while making sexist slurs like “feminazi” This demonstrates you have no genuine concern to stop people from experiencing the very things you are subjecting people to on this blog.

        I never used the term Feminazi but lets face facts you lot don’t merely want to make sure people are safe from violence, persecution and exclusion (a cause I would totally be on board with) you want to ensure women are protected from any speech, text, clothing or even thought that might offend the most sensitive of feminists.

        So you have that in common with totalitarian ideologies, your aim is to control speech and thought.

        • Ray N says

          lilandra, I meant to say this way back in the comments, as I knew what a concern troll was but didn’t really know there was an official moniker for them”concern troll.” Perfect, thnx for the edumication..

        • Ray N says

          It’s really comical, as the liberal feminist BigOli, says ‘you want to ensure women are protected from any speech, text, clothing or even thought that might offend the most sensitive of feminists.’ so then he also says, ‘So you have that in common with totalitarian ideologies, your aim is to control speech and thought.’ All that while he tries to control…what is it…what is it…YOUR speech and YOUR thought, while leaving his alone’ Amazing.

  47. says

    When people actually want women to join their organizations, give me a holler.

    fojap, thank you for cutting through to the actual point. The demographics show that the status quo in skeptical organisations prompts most women to give them a miss in droves, as self-reported in surveys of the women who choose to cease going to skeptical events after just a couple of attendances. Pointing to the women who do decide to become active members and haranguing non-attending women to be more like them if they want to be part of the movement, instead of lookin at how to improve the appeal of their product to the target demographic? That response seems to fail Marketing 101.

    Without a strong core of women who have found partners within the movement and who are happy to raise their children within the surroundings of the organised skeptic/atheist movement, these movements will grow in trickles rather than in bounds. If exposure to skeptic/atheist meetings as they stand leads more often to women warning their friends away from such meetings, and eventually discouraging their offspring from attending, the movement is wading through treacle as it tries to gather more members and thus exert more influence. This does not seem a productive way to proceed.

    As it stands, too many skeptic/atheist orgs have an unchecked subset of sleazy men who either pester women as boner-fodder or shame them as boner-killers, in both cases condescendingly dismissing their intellectual attributes while deploying their plausible-deniability cloaking-device of silly-bitches-can’t-take-a-joke-amiright. Since this is at best no better than the unchecked subset of sleazy men who infest the average workplace, why should women looking for intellectual stimulation spend their time/energy/money attending such meetings? Especially since workplaces at least offer monetary compensation for putting up with such irritation at the background noise level, and have anti-harassment policies in place to offer redress/compensation for egregious breaches, while skeptic/atheist orgs have rarely, at least until recently, offered even the simplest AHPs yet have held their hands out for fees/donations all the same. Childcare for couples with young children, so that the primary carer gets to enjoy the events equally once a family has been started? Keep dreaming.

    The very least that the orgs/cons can do to improve their “brand” to women who are currently avoiding them because of past off-putting experiences is to adopt anti-harassment polices at least equivalent to those in place at most privately operated sporting grounds, theatrical venues, amusement parks, casinos and educations institutes. Why do some orgs/cons (or at least some of their members) think that they should be exempt from the standards increasingly forming the baseline of public interaction elsewhere?

  48. says

    I don’t think any of the concern trolls that are handwaving harassment either read the OP or cognitive dissonance is preventing them from understanding they are doing the very thing that keeps the real concerns of women from being discussed meaningfully. They dismissed any evidence they were given. They have forums for making their insensitive claims elsewhere.

  49. says

    Apparently there may be some technical issues, so I am posting this for….

    (left0ver1under)

    re: The Foundational Oft-Repeated Fallacies of Sexism Deniers

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/aronra/2013/01/09/the-foundational-oft-repeated-fallacies-of-sexism-deniers/

    ————————————————————

    One of the signs of being a troll is posting more than half the
    comments in a thread. This is an example of that.

    It looks like Oliver Crandle has created a new account after being
    banned by most of FtB’s bloggers.

    Ed notified the webmaster

  50. says

    So it’s now a “logical fallacy” to disagree with a political ideology? That’s a stretch. I’d say if anybody’s making logical fallacies, it’s the author of this article.

    BTW, if AronRa is reading this, do you stand by the assertions made in this article? (I’m not going to dignify them by calling them “arguments”.) I had always thought this was one of the less partisan and sectarian of the Freethought Blogs, but evidently I was mistaken.

    • says

      No. A conclusion is a logical fallacy if it has an error in reasoning.
      Please review the arguments above and click the links to understand why they use fallacious reasoning. Also, some reading on fallacies that may help.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy
      I form my own views and he forms his own views with or without approval. My husband’s thoughts on this are already public:
      http://skepchick.org/2012/08/speaking-out-against-hate-directed-at-women-aron-ra/

      • says

        Except that in several cases you’ve stretched the definition of a given fallacy to make the statement fit.

        I’m quite familiar with logical fallacies, thank you very much, so your condescension is not necessary. I’m also quite familiar with a style of argumentation, popular around these parts, which is to sit down with a list of logical fallacies and fisk through an article shoehorning quotes into supposed fallacies. It’s not really an adult way to debate in my estimation, but whatever makes you feel good, I guess.

        BTW, I’m aware that there may be a difference between you and your husband’s views on the matter, but considering this is very different from the usual tone of his blog, I am asking him to be plain about what his views are. The link does not remotely answer the question, as it simply gives his generalized views on gender-based harassment. That says nothing about what his views might views might be on the kind of sectarian arguments advance here.

      • Ray N says

        lilandra, clearly, it isn’t possible to fill an already full glass of liquid as the one you replied to, and of course they know it all, about logic, valid and sound arguments and I can only think of the old movie ‘the world according tom garp.’ as who these person is. You and AronRa have your own personal relationship but some of these assholes feel it’s fair game to assume he without you is deaf and you without him is dumb, screw them all, personal criticism of you and Aron are off base and I wish they’d just as TLD might say it, just STFU. I mean when they are so incredulous that you would have any thoughts of your own separate from your hubby, AronRa, yet they claim they aren’t sexist or that it even exists truly astounds me. I like the part at the end about forming views his and your own ‘with or without approval.’ Tell some of the harsher critics to dive off the nearest and shortest pier.

  51. hjhornbeck says

    This is not a scientific experiment.

    No, this is a call for evidence that you say exists.

    I sould have taken photos but I never thought, in my wildest dreams, that I would have to prove such a mundane thing to a person in the future.

    I didn’t ask for photos taken by you, I asked for photos. There are many ways to find such photos on the internet, thanks to the magic of tagging. I’ve had a look, and so far haven’t found a single example apart from Hall. It’s your turn to defend your own claim.

    I was at the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne last year,. There were 4000 attendees, there were hundreds of people there with T-shirts on displaying their atheism. I was there and you were not (I presume) and you will have to take my word for it.

    That’s a problem, because I was at Imagine No Religion 2 in Kamloops. Out of the hundreds of attendees there, I didn’t see a single person wearing an “I’m a skeptic”-style T-shirt. My word says that these T-shirts are rare; your word says these T-shirts are common. One of us must be wrong.

    It is so easy to stifle debate with such ridiculous tactics, you probably have a box full of them but you are bringing them out at the wrong time. … Or is it that you want to play tricks to win an argument?

    How is asking someone to back up their claims with evidence “ridiculous?” If a creationist gave you the same excuse, you’d laugh them out of the room, and yet here you are feeding me the same line. I’ve been charitable and gone looking myself, and can’t find a single bit of evidence to support your claim. It’s your turn now: you say these T-shirts are common. You have the means to demonstrate this. Now PROVE IT.

  52. hjhornbeck says

    You asked for an example, and gave a specific set of criteria:

    (Nasty internet trolls, clumsy chat up lines or a wolf whistle need not apply)

    I did so, and was careful to bring up a detailed incident with multiple witnesses. Your response was to move the goalposts. Now I’m obligated to provide more than simply drunken behavior. What’s my new criteria? Threats of assault? I can do that:

    In addition to blaming victims of sexual harassment for being too open about their harassment, DJ has also insisted that there have never been any problems with harassment at TAM (a topic I have never actually commented on, actually, even when on Twitter last year a man told me he was going to grope me in an elevator; when others complained about him to the JREF, they did nothing more than ask him to please not molest me). – Rebecca Watson

    So what’s your new criteria? And while I’m searching for something that suits your specific demands, do you want me to create a list of all transitional fossils, or all religious wars?

  53. hjhornbeck says

    You bet! From Kitty Mervine:

    had an issue at the Del Mar [pre-DJ], was handled very well by two members of the JREF staff and South Point. I’m not kidding, my hair was set on fire.

    Or would you take the evidence of several people?

    Two women approach me and another conferee. They are pale and trembling. A man with a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod has been attempting to surreptitiously take photos up their skirts. Yes, he was attending TAM. They had taken concerns to conference organizers and got little satisfaction. Hotel security confiscated the camera. I later learned the individual was well-known and had been complained about in previous years, and yet there he was again.

    Note how the TAM organizers have ignored repeated complaints against Monopod guy, dating back several years. Elsewhere in this thread, I pointed out someone threatening to grope Rebecca Watson in an elevator, which the TAM staff met with yawns.

    Do you see a pattern here? Women keep coming up with examples, only to have their complaints repeatedly dismissed. Unsurprisingly, women start to keep quiet about this, lest they face pushback from hyper-skeptics far more eager to dismiss then listen. As a result, they instead decide to drop out of these conferences and remain silent.

    Which, in your books, counts as a victory. I’d have nothing more to contribute to your list, after all!

  54. hjhornbeck says

    Congratulations, Oliver, you’ve made sure there’s at least one less item in the list I’m gathering for you. You winning the argument!

  55. hjhornbeck says

    I had always thought this was one of the less partisan and sectarian of the Freethought Blogs, but evidently I was mistaken.

    If demonstrating, with examples, that people who argue against feminism frequently use logical fallacies counts as “partisan,” I’d hate to see what you consider a logical argument.

    • says

      Say, isn’t ridicule rather than counter-argument one of those big ol’ LOGICAL FALLACIES that Andrea was on about above? Or is it not a fallacy when you do it? But then, wouldn’t that be “special pleading”, yet another logical fallacy?

      • Stacy says

        No, ridicule in itself is not a logical fallacy.

        hjhornbeck did offer a counter-argument He noted that lilandra demonstrated her points with examples.

        You really don’t understand what fallacious reasoning is.

        I suggest you look up those links lilandra thoughtfully provided.

        • says

          No, Hornbeck simply provided snark, which is a light form of ridicule. Which has it’s place, but since you people are claiming the mantle of advancing arguing from pure reasoning, perhaps you’d care to lead by example? If that’s not too much to ask. As for Andrea’s illustrating her points with examples, as I’ve pointed out above, she’s simply shoehorned these points to tenuously fit a list of logical fallacies. Not to mention sought examples which were insult-laden when she could have just as well found once that simply made an argument, which is essentially cherry-picking. If you don’t understand that term or what’s wrong with that as a form of argumentation, I can ‘thoughtfully’ provide a link as well.

          • says

            “Not to mention sought examples which were insult-laden when she could have just as well found once that simply made an argument, which is essentially cherry-picking.”

            Wait. Your complaint is that Lilandra’s examples of sexist sexism-denial were too nasty and sexist? She should have waded through for less blatantly offensive sexist comments to discuss?

          • says

            If you read rather than skimmed the article, you would have seen that many of the comments were up voted at least 20 times and I posted the Top Comment as of posting to the blog. I doubt that you did actually read it with any seriousness as you keep calling me Andrea even after people have told you what my name is.

            If you want to prove your assertions, provide one example of where you think a comment I said was a fallacy is in fact not a fallacy and

              why

            .

          • Stacy says

            No, Hornbeck simply provided snark</blockquote

            No he didn't. Let me demonstrate:

            Leaving aside the question of whether he actually ridiculed you (I don't think he did, but that's actually beside the case, since he did not employ the appeal to ridicule*) hjhornbeck did offer an actual argument. It was a casual, conversational inductive argument, but it was a reasonably strong one.

            In response to your argument, which was:

            [According to lilandra and those who agree with her] it’s now a “logical fallacy” to disagree with a political ideology

            hjhornbeck replied

            If demonstrating, with examples, that people who argue against feminism frequently use logical fallacies counts as “partisan,” I’d hate to see what you consider a logical argument

            [Unspoken premise]: lilandra did not claim that disagreeing with the feminist point of view is prima facie a logical fallacy. [Premise]: lilandra demonstrated that anti-feminists use logical fallacies and she provided evidence for her claim. [Conclusion]: Your characterization of lilandra’s argument is incorrect. [Observation]: You are unable to correctly analyze arguments.

            As for Andrea’s illustrating her points with examples, as I’ve pointed out above, she’s simply shoehorned these points to tenuously fit a list of logical fallacies.

            So you assert. You haven’t actually offered any evidence to back that assertion. lilandra offered examples of strawmanning, the fallacy of composition, and the spot light fallacy (which I hadn’t heard of before,) and of No True Scotsman (which I didn’t really see in her examples.)

            Not to mention sought examples which were insult-laden when she could have just as well found once that simply made an argument

            As she’s pointed out, lilandra chose comments that got a lot of upvotes. The presence or absence of insults doesn’t have anything to do with the strength of the argument. (And, no, an insult is not necessarily an ad hominem.)

            which is essentially cherry-picking.

            You can’t make a charge of “cherry-picking” stick unless you can demonstrate that those comments lilandra chose are unrepresentative of the arguments being made. They seem representative enough to me; I’ve heard them each dozens of times. Of course this is not a scientific survey.

            If you don’t understand that term or what’s wrong with that as a form of argumentation, I can ‘thoughtfully’ provide a link as well

            I’ve studied critical thinking and argumentation theory, thanks. That’s how I know you don’t know wtf you’re talking about. Your bluster isn’t fooling anyone.

            * Once again: ridicule is not in itself a logical fallacy. The appeal to ridicule is a logical fallacy wherein the opponent’s argument is strawmanned so as to render it ridiculous and therefore easy to dismiss. That’s not what hjhornbeck did.

          • says

            Good job. Someone is finally discussing the OP. As for the No True Scotsman fallacy, the remarks dismiss the discussion of harassment and sexism as being irrelevant to what they think atheism is truly about.

            What has ANY of this got to do with Atheism?

            and

            These people need to be ignored as they are just attention whores bent on hijacking atheism.

  56. hjhornbeck says

    Say, isn’t ridicule rather than counter-argument one of those big ol’ LOGICAL FALLACIES that Andrea was on about above?

    Sorry, you seem to have misunderstood me. I wasn’t ridiculing you, I am genuinely scared at the thought of what you’d call a logical argument, based on what you call “partisan.” Given how poorly you’ve understood what’s being discussed, I think that’s a justified fear.

  57. hjhornbeck says

    Pitchguest:

    Once again, I’m perplexed. You’ve never spoken about this before (or you have, just not on this blog) and now you choose to speak up, and when you’re asked for evidence to support your claims you link back to Lousy Canuck?

    Do you have an alternative timeline, then? If not, why not? Why are you letting someone who you suggest may be biased having the last word here?

    • says

      I banned the posters that were showing no real concern for harassment by denying any and all evidence presented to them for Concern Trolling.

      • douglas1102 says

        Good, their “point” has been repeated about two dozen times now. They won’t support a harassment policy that would put these events in line with other events no matter how much evidence is shown to them… yea, we get it.

        I’m sure they’re bragging about what a “win” it is for them right now but screw ‘em.

  58. hjhornbeck says

    Pitchguest:

    what proof do you have that women are being treated badly in the atheist/sceptic community?

    I’ve linked to several examples throughout this thread. Do they fit between your goalposts?

    Surely you musn’t be talking about the occasional offhand comment here and there, the occasional trollish comment here and there, you must be talking about a systematic oppression within the atheist/sceptic community.

    I’m guessing not. If I’m reading you correctly, you want evidence of a cabal of people dedicated to harassing and oppressing women. If I or anyone else fail to provide that, then there can be no sexism within the skeptical community.

    I have to ask: do you think there is no sexism in Islam? After all, there is no over-arching organization of imams, they are free to interpret the Qur’an as they see fit. With no such structure in place, they can’t be sexist according to your logic.

  59. leni says

    If there is no problem with harassment at conferences, then why would having a policy on it such a big deal? Is it really so impossible that it could happen in the future, even if you believe it had never, ever happened before?

    Wouldn’t it be better to maybe think about how we should handle if it does? Why all this backlash? Do people like Oliver demand lists of prior incidents from employers with sexual harassment policies?

    I don’t really call myself a “skeptic”, but it seems to me that anyone with even the remotest awareness of reality knows that some portion of the population are sexual predators in any group. We should expect to have some in our midst and why should we not be prepared for dealing with it? Even if you think it is unlikely, what is wrong with being prepared? Why is it bad to let attendees and sponsors* know that you are prepared for it and that attendees can count on organizers for help and support should something bad happen?

    So even if there never was a case of harassment or abuse at a conference, there is no good rational reason to assume there never will be one. Yet it’s more important for people like Oliver to demand lists than it is to even consider how we can be better prepared to help future victims and keep our gatherings safe and fun.

    If you don’t believe harassment exists, fine. You are wrong, but fine, it happens to the best of us. You should still accept the fact that it is a good idea to be prepared should it happen in the future.

    *No, anti-harassment policies will not frighten off potential sponsors. Most businesses have them, they might even be required to, I don’t know. In any case, they know this is par for the course and fairly standard in professional and semi-professional settings. No one is going to be shocked to see one. Except maybe Thunderf00t.

  60. hjhornbeck says

    While I don’t think many of them were tone-trolling, there was enough denial and goal-post moving to shove an American football game into Egypt. Either way, they weren’t contributing or moving the discussion forward, so bringing out the banhammer was still the right thing to do.

    • says

      They were not tone trolling. I specified they were concern trolling.
      From wikipedia…
      A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user claims to hold. The concern troll posts in Web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group’s actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed “concerns”. The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.[22]

      • says

        I think many of them actually do think they’re against sexism, bigotry, misogyny, and in favor of equal rights…but just think they have a better idea of what equality looks like. Along with being apparently unable to tell the difference between types of insults and abuse.
        Not saying that they aren’t in effect concern trolling. Just that I think many honestly think they’re being skeptical and reasonable, rather than trolling.

        • anon1152 says

          This raises a very interesting question about “troll-identification.” When I first started commenting on blogs, I went to conservative blogs. I didn’t want to have my own biases confirmed. I wanted them to be challenged. I was called a “troll” at first. Over time, some of them came to realize that I was actually interested in having a real conversation. In part, this is (probably) because my style of commenting changed in response to their reactions.

          I love wikipedia. (I know it sounds like I’m having an Attention Deficit Disorder problem right now, but hear me out). One of the things I like about wikipedia is the principle that one should “Assume good faith”. Including the idea that you shouldn’t “cite this principle too aggressively”.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Assume_good_faith

          I find it helpful in life to “Assume” good faith… or rather, to act as if I assume good faith, even if I’m initially convinced that there is only bad faith. (I find this very hard to achieve, but I try).

          But at what point does one acknowledge the lack of good faith? I don’t know. And to be honest I haven’t read through all of the comments here so I can’t make a particular judgement in this case even if I did know where to draw the line.

          I trust lilandra’s judgment.

          • says

            I didn’t ban Iamcuriousblue even though his insistence that he must know Aron’s opinion on a blog I posted and implication that I am partisan can’t be charitably read. I allowed the other 3 post multiple posts where they insisted they were genuinely concerned about harassment but then handwaved harassment several times. One even had the temerity to use the word feminazi while handwaving.

  61. hjhornbeck says

    (oh, and an OT request: would you mind switching from threaded comments to flat in your next post, or at least for those that might provoke a flame-war? They’re much easier to follow along with. Thanks!)

  62. mildlymagnificent says

    I’m afraid I’m with fojap to a certain extent. I’ll sometimes get into on-line conversations about sexism. But you can count me out of any skeptic/atheist conferences that I might have considered attending. (Though I’ve not heard anything bad about the Australian conferences, I’d still be unwilling to lay out any money for attending if any of this sort of rot has been going on.)

    My budget is far too limited to consider giving up on other things that are important to me if the money I would have used on those things merely gives me exposure to things I want nothing to do with. Being a bit of an antique, I’m probably not a prime target for the sort of stuff I had to deal with a few decades ago at other conferences. But I really have no need to be told – again – how little women have to worry about in our privileged world, by arrogant fools who have never bothered to listen to how they might sound to a reasonable person. I never, ever again want to hear anyone tell me to my face that feminism is not logical or justified.

    So I’m concerned about anti-harassment policies for everyone’s sake, but for my own sake, I’ll stay well away from having to relive the 70s which is what reading these people feels like to me.

    • says

      I know where you are coming from. I don’t get why they don’t know how they sound either. You really have no worries going to a conference with a harassment policy in place. The fools can be ejected if on the off chance they still want to be that foolish enough to harass someone. You sound charming if you ever happen to be at an atheist/skeptic conference hang out with me and Aron. Most people don’t harass him.

  63. Recreant says

    “If you can bring some evidence that there is a serious problem with sexism and misogyny by citing repeated serious harassment and or assault I will gladly join you in condemning it.”

    This statement is precisely the problem. You’re apparently willing to excuse all manor of infraction so long as it does not cross over into SERIOUS harrassment or assault. That attitude does everything to promote a culture of baseline sexism.

    In my line of work, we promote a safety culture: we strive to do our jobs safely. We don’t do this by waiting until a few of our coworkers lose life or limb. We start at the very smallest steps, identifying where the potential hazards exist and eliminating/mitigating them before they become serious.

    Why shouldn’t the same approach be applied to sexism?

  64. cuervodecuero says

    Thanks kindly for the post, Lilandra.

    When it comes to societal attitudes, even many atheists don’t realize or want to acknowledge that even with overtly working themselves out of a Goddidit mindset, they’ve still internalized a lot of just-so stories promulgated as natural law. It’s like uninstalling a program, unaware it’s attached pieces of itself throughout the system and then wondering why things still aren’t working better. The athei-fandom sexism deniers sound like people who keep repeating “but I uninstalled the program” as tech help tries to make them aware they need to do some more work finding and cleaning the rest of it out to get the system to more user friendly status.

    On the matter of organization harassment policies, I’m extremely baffled as to why anyone, especially convention and group chapter organizers, would balk the least bit in having a clear, responsible protocol for handling attendee abuse. If-nothing-else, it is a Safety priority, one that I would greatly like to see paired with con protocols to apprise con-goers of emergency response(fire,shooters,medical) steps. Atop that, having watched another org get hit with lawsuits over not providing a safe environment in the wake of sexual assaults, I would think harassment policies and training for organizers and ‘security’ to be a basic legal CYA. If the Atheist-identified community is going to keep growing and holding more, larger, conventions, why would *non-believers* have *faith* nothing bad will ever happen? What makes them so special and unable to take on best practises and lessons learned by others?

  65. Chris B. says

    “HOLD THE FUCK ON.. 7:33 your freedom of speech “ends the second that someone who hears that speech is affected”?? what the fuck are you talking about you crazy cunt? the reason we even have something in writing saying essentially “NOBODY SHOULD BE ABLE TO STOP YOU FROM SAYING THINGS” is almost specifically to protect things that are unpopular or may offend people. these bitches are out of line in the worst fucking way.. shit has to stop (21 Thumbs ups!)”

    I have to say that, except for the unnecessary and offensive use of the word “cunt,” I agree with this. While I do not think that libel/slander, defamation, or speech that causes someone tangible harm (e.g., someone yells “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater causing a panic in which someone is trampled is not protected, but someone who has their feelings hurt of their sensibilities offended does not have an actionable claim) is protected free speech, the fact that I disagree with misogynists/sexists does not mean that I want them silenced. As a freethinker I value free speech very highly, because without it I probably would never have been exposed to thinking that did not agree with religious dogma.

    • douglas1102 says

      “While I do not think that libel/slander, defamation, or speech that causes someone tangible harm (e.g., someone yells “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater causing a panic in which someone is trampled is not protected, ”

      That was exactly her point, she worded it very poorly by saying “affected” and now Tf00t has quote-mined her because he knows his fans will take “affected” as “offended”.

      If that’s the best example he can give from an hour long conversation then I’m not impressed.

    • douglas1102 says

      “Hate speech” is notoriously difficult to define and what if the alleged hate speech is true? It can happen.

      In Canada we have hate-speech laws and I think it’s ridiculous and when taken to the Supreme Court it’s usually struck down. I’ve always preferred America’s hate-speech laws which as far as I know don’t exist.

      I really don’t trust the government to decide these things, but then again when a certain ideology wiped out a third of the human population you have to wonder if society should tolerate people rehashing these stupid theories.

      I think it comes down to this… hate speech needs to be confronted with better information and if people neglect to do this then the government may have to step in. It’s really up to people to take step up and speak out otherwise the government will need to step in and that never really helps.

  66. says

    @Chris B. I agree with most of what you said. However, I don’t believe freedom of speech covers hate speech. This particular comment is offensive, but not in the category of hate speech. Now were he to say that at a convention to a woman, that would be harassment.

    • douglas1102 says

      My last comment was meant to be a response to this comment, I still haven’t gotten the hang of this format xD

    • Chris B. says

      Fair enough. While I think that we can have a healthy debate about what should/should not qualify as hate speech, and what (if any) legal measures should be taken to control it, I do agree that women should not be targets for harassment. Great post, I enjoyed reading it.

  67. GrzeTor says

    Quick evaluation after speed reading the text – the citations you polemize with are right, and your comments are somewhat without meaningful context.

    • says

      Pick one citation that you think is right and explain…
      1. Why it is right.
      2. Why my comment about it is without meaningful context.

      I don’t believe you can support either assertion by just speed reading the text of the OP. It says something about your willingness to criticize something you didn’t really give a good read.

  68. Sellsword says

    I only just had time to read the comments section of this article today. I am honestly disappointed to find that people are now being banned here for their opinions. I kept coming back to this blog, because I was an old fan of Aron’s youtube work. I didn’t always agree with him about everything, but I respected his integrity.

    • says

      Again another person, who won’t read or discuss the OP. If you read the comments then you will know that they were banned for trolling not simply disagreeing.

      • Sellsword says

        All “trolling” means in real terms is disagreeing with whoever wields the banhammer. Do you think all the other people who’ve censored previously didn’t feel just as justified about their actions? Once you’ve started saying that there’s things you won’t listen to it tends to be difficult to take that back. I actually did read the opening post closely, but why discuss it now? Its like you’re striving to prove your own critics right.

        • says

          If you genuinely do not know the difference between trolling and disagreement, perhaps you need to do your homework before you opine online. By your definition that would also make you a troll as you have disagreed here, and mainly on posts in the blog related to feminism. Yet you haven’t been blocked. One can be in disagreement, be wrong or even stupid without being a troll. Your post is off topic and repeated off topic posts are derailing. Please familiarize yourself with the comment policy to prevent any confusion.

  69. fortran says

    Aron,

    The radical feminists/gender feminists that are here at FTBs are nuts. No one doubts sexism exists, but radical feminists can’t be trusted to judge it. Run while you can Aron. I don’t want them to sink their hooks into you.

    • says

      Fortran,
      Please read the OP and comments there are plenty of examples of people denying sexism exists before you deny there is sexism denial. Also, if you read more carefully you might learn that I wrote the post not Aron.

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