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An observation on the concept of “callout culture”

So if you call yourself a skeptic, that means — or should mean — that you embrace the notion that no idea is sacrosanct, there is no dogma, and every idea and statement should be subject to criticism and rebuttal.

Crazy talk, right? But check it: there are some people, even in our august society of self-styled skeptics and freethinkers, who don’t actually hold to this. Oh, sure, they pay a great deal of lip service to it, but that’s easy to do as long as safe ideas are all that are brought under critical scrutiny: young earth creationism, Stanley Kubrick faked the moon landing, UFO abductions and crop circles, “I had a three-way with Bigfoot and Slenderman,” or whatever fortune cookie word salad Deepak Chopra tweeted today.

But the minute they say something stupid, suddenly, the core principle of skepticism doesn’t apply. It is a thing to which they should be immune, because how could they be wrong!? Dammit, they are rationalists! Says so right there on their RD.net T-shirt.

So what happens is that sometimes a person like this will say something other folks think is really stupid, and instead of doing what skeptics pride themselves on doing — entering into a dialogue involving argument, rebuttal, and counter-rebuttal — they’re just so sold on the complete unassailability of their ideas that the only rational conclusion is that their critics must be just doing everything wrong in every way.

Well, that's settled then.

Well, that’s settled then.

See? It can’t be that one of our own might be a fallible person who doesn’t actually get everything right all the time. You’re just getting something wrong. Haven’t we already established that we’re the skeptical community, which my character sheet tells me gives us an automatic +20 on our “smarter than everyone else” die rolls? Indeed, if someone from within the ranks is criticizing your ideas, well, they are simply malcontents and agitators who are looking to create…

SCHISM!

So it’s like this.

To sum up:  Atheist YouTuber makes humorous video mocking the worst aspects of callout culture.  Atheist public figure tweets said video.  Atheist callout culture warriors freak out and overreact, pretty much like in the video.

Atheist YouTuber: Here is my new video in which I put on a wig and mock people I think are wrong.
Response: Okay, but this whole thing is a big straw man fallacy. If you’re going to criticize people, why not just criticize what they actually say?
Atheist YouTuber: SEE? CALLOUT CULTURE! And I totes predicted it. Where is my million dollars, Randi!?

All you have to do is slap a dismissive term on anyone critiquing your critique, and voila, you are immune from critique. Anyone who disagrees with me is just wrong about everything, because SKEPTICISM.

Let’s see how else we can play this game.

Creationist: “Look, I posted another video about how the universe is only 6000 years old, and evolutionist callout culture warriors freak out and overreact, pretty much like in the video.”
Psychic: “Look, I went on Montel and talked to the dead relatives of everyone in the audience, and those James Randi callout culture warriors freak out and overreact, pretty much like in the video.”
Moon landing hoaxer: “Look, Alex Jones posted another video about how the government totally faked all this shit, and the brainwashed sheeple callout culture warriors freak out and overreact, pretty much like in the video.”
9/11 Truther: “Look, I posted another video in which I scientifically explained how exploding jet fuel burning at thousands of degrees could never in a million years structurally weaken a skyscraper and cause it to collapse, and the police state callout culture warriors freak out and overreact, pretty much like in the video.”

Huh…when those people talk that way, suddenly it sounds kind of stupid.

wurtwu1tvpa3qv6ok3a8

Well, fuckin A.

Here’s an idea.

Be a skeptic.

Step one: realize that you could be wrong too!

If someone else’s ideas are stupid, then it should be enough to address them accurately, not misrepresenting them, and on the sole basis of their merits. And if someone thinks you are wrong, then you should listen to what they say, and pick apart their criticism based on its merits, rather than simply slapping labels on them that are little more than the rhetorical equivalent of “lalalala I can’t hear you!” Because maybe it isn’t “callout culture” coming after you after all. Maybe you actually just said some stupid bullshit. People do. And you’re a people.

I know. No one ever said this skepticism thing was easy, or that handling its sharp edges would mean you’d never get cut yourself.

Sorry if that’s what someone told you when you came on board. But some men will just tell a pretty lady anything. You should have been more skeptical.

Comments

  1. says

    Think I might jump in here, because I suspect it’s likely that some anti-FtBers or anti-feminists or whatever might turn up in the comments and offer examples, real or imagined, of people they think I’m allied with engaging in the same behavior I describe in this post. And they’ll be all like “What about this then!?” and they’ll think they’ve caught me in a gotcha moment. If this happens, well, as I don’t just want to say “See, people are responding just like I said in the blog!” (haha), let me point out where they will have fundamentally misunderstood my point.

    It isn’t what position people take — though yes, I think if you’re against the side who are supportive of the idea that women and other marginalized classes ought to be treated with respect and equality and humanity, I’m not on your team — but how they respond to criticism. So whether you’re on Team Womynism or Team Dudebro, if your response to having your ideas critiqued is anything other than addressing the substance of the critique, and instead takes the form of one fallacy or another (like strawmanning or ad homs or whatever), then you’re guilty of what I deride in this post. Doesn’t matter if I agree with the core principles you believe in or not.

  2. says

    Actually, maybe the writer should consider the message he himself wrote and apply it to himself. The reaction from various members of the Atheism+ community give anything but credi to this poor excuse of call out. No, that is exactly what this is. You are making the very person’s point even truer. GG.

  3. says

    I heart snark.

    I swear there’s more misrepresentation of feminism than the combined total misrepresentation of atheism by theists.

    Every time they open their mouths, I’m wondering “where did they get that from? Oh, they cherry picked some absurd example and decided to cast it to everyone in that group.”

  4. says

    And where were you assuming that I don’t apply these principles to myself? Guess what, Jesse! If anybody in the “Atheism+ community” behaves in the manner described in this post, they’re not being good skeptics either. IKR!!! O.O

    (I bet you were expecting to hear some of that FtB cultish hivemind stuff you keep hearing about, weren’t you?)

  5. says

    Possibly. But I’d argue that good satire doesn’t rely on misrepresenting your target, and actually illuminates/provides food for thought regarding the matter being satirized. It doesn’t simply use caricature to validate the prejudices of a target audience.

  6. says

    And mocking said people deserves some kind of a snark post?
    Btw, I idn’t mention this in my post but, those non-skeptic examples are way forced :| Well, there isn’t enough context for those so whatever.

    What I really liked to know is what do you mean by FtB (<- what is this even?) cultish hive mind. I have 0 idea.

  7. says

    Jesse, AXP gets a lot of flak for “making theists look stupid”, when in actual fact it is their arguments that make them look that way… You just missed the entire point of the post and waded in with just as bad an argument. “Reaction” is not part of an argument that is addressable, it is irrelevant to the points made. Unless A+ literally just posted gifs of Martins dramatic chipmunk then their *reaction”, as you put it, is not what you as a skeptic should address. Their arguments should be addressed, give it a go.

    In fact I’ll help you, most of the laughter directed at Glenn is her assertion that A+ is atheism plus radical feminism. This is akin to a creationist “why are there still monkeys” argument against evolution. It demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of what A+ is and what radical feminism is … Please explain to me why this is not the case, why are we wrong to laugh at her claim? What good point is hiding in that mess of ignorance?

  8. says

    And mocking said people deserves some kind of a snark post?

    You’re getting it now, Jesse. No one’s ideas or statements are immune from criticism.

    Now, how are my examples forced? Explain. Give me a critique back.

    As to the last: There is a vocal group online of people who attack this blog network on the grounds that 1) everyone here agrees with everyone else and 2) no dissenting opinions are allowed. It is of course a thoroughly stupid notion that evaporates the instant you actually look at the variety of blogs here and how they are conducted. But it’s been an effective trope, because as we’ve seen, even people who highly pride themselves on their skeptical prowess are susceptible to flawed thinking, such as straw man fallacies and confirmation bias. If someone tells you what you want to hear, you don’t see the need to do any fact-checking for yourself.

  9. says

    How to watch a Glenn video if you’re Richard Dawkins:

    1. Mute video.
    2. Play Barry White.
    3. Play video.
    4. Tweet approvingly.

  10. says

    I’m with Martin on this one. If you’re going to satirise, there should be a kernel of accuracy in the portrayal of your target even taking exaggerations into account. A ridiculous caricature is just that – a means to ridicule without accurately representing the opposing position. If atheists are going to get up in arms and engage full debunk mode when we see a fundie or creationist caricaturing evolution or strawmanning atheists, we should be better than do it to each other.

  11. adamah says

    I’m a bit lost here: what was the original comment that inspired JacylnGlenn to make her video protesting against “call-out culture”?

    I’m getting that she said something silly, and is now taking some heat for it, but instead chose to blame it on “call out culture”?

    FWIW, I disagree with her, “we’re on the same thing” thing. I’m not on any “team” except finding truths. If someone says something that’s nonsense (and esp. if it’s central to their argument, and hence an invalid argument) I’m going to point it out to them, since it does no one any favors by perpetuating ignorance, not the person or the audience. Egos take a back seat to facts.

    Adam

  12. says

    Well, I suspect the blonde wig was an attempt to snipe at Cristina Rad, who posted a rebuttal video to an earlier video of Jaclyn’s taking the line that Elliot Rodger’s shooting rampage (in which he left behind a 100+ page misogynist diatribe proudly announcing he hated all women and was going to take out as many as he could) had little or nothing to do with misogyny and was just garden variety crazy. The impression I get of Jaclyn is that her videos coast on her charm, attractiveness, and a sense of humor that some find funny and that every once in a while pops a legitimate target. And having gotten used to the fawning approval of not only her YT fan base but Richard Dawkins, she doesn’t seem nearly as intellectually equipped or ego-confident to deal with a critique, or hold her own in a serious argument with someone who’s good at it (like Cristina). It is also possible that, as YouTube monetization is all about dem views, she’s stuck her finger in the air to check the wind, and has realized it’s more lucrative and will make her more popular to take the anti-feminist line than the pro one.

    It’s funny, because not long ago she posted a video about some of the sexist remarks she’s received. So it’s not like she doesn’t acknowledge there’s a problem you face when you’re Online While Female.

  13. darreno2112 says

    in addition, satire that targets the oppressed group usually doesn’t come across as funny. Satire tends to work much better when it’s subversive.

  14. Athywren says

    It’s amazing how many people I used to respect have bought into this idea that it’s just a callout culture.
    My token MRA friend (facebook friend (acquaintance)) once told me that everybody always tells him that he’s right on… except when he says something they disagree with. Seems he still doesn’t understand that it’s possible for him to be wrong about something, despite an “impressive” track record on pointing out that quote mines aren’t particularly good evidence for god. Oddly enough, he likes to use quote mines himself but, no, no, it’s us who are wrong when we disagree with him, the total lack of intellectual content of his criticisms of feminism are merely window dressing.

    I also heard Thunderf00t say something similar on either Dogma Debate or The Thinking Atheist. It was something like “yeah, people criticise me, but they’re just jealous of my success” (or words to that effect – I don’t know which show or which episode, so no sources on that right now (and, honestly, I wouldn’t hold out hope for getting sources from me on this, because I’m moving house on Tuesday and my desktop is already packed, so I don’t really have easy access to my already-listened-to podcasts and won’t have internet access for at least a week after regaining that access (nested parentheses are fun))). It’s really kind of upsetting to see people you’ve invested skeptic respect points in demonstrate a lack of self-skepticism, but I guess it was an unskeptical opinion in my own mind that made me susceptible to that upset.

  15. adamah says

    Hi Martin,

    Ah, I knew there had to be a backstory here. Thanks for the fill-in.

    (It might be good to post a link to Jacylyn’s original video and Cristina’s response video, so we could analyze the context of the call-out video to see if it has any merit? I’d do it, but I’ve gotta run in a few….)

    At the risk of getting dragged into a cat-fight (oops: can I use that phrase? I mean, Jaclyn DID mention ‘cats vs dogs’ in her video!), and not having yet seen the original video or the response, my inclination is that if Jaclyn suggested there’s more to Elliot’s killing spree than just misogyny, I’d whole-heartedly agree.

    By all appearances, Elliot showed the hallmarks of ‘borderline personality disorder (with narcissistic tendencies)’, where his reported Aspergers would likely lead him to ‘imitate’ or act out what he irrationally believed proper masculine behavior to be (he fell for ‘the pickup artist’ scam, as many young males do, and he apparently interacted with other young males online in a PUA forum, where they reinforced each other’s extremist views on women).

    In his manifesto, he also spouted some pretty offensive racist nonsense, too: 4 out of 6 victims were Asian males, and his mom was Asian, IIRC; he blamed his failure with women on his looks (self-loathing). So why no similar outcry over his racist thinking?

    Taken as a whole, any explanation which focuses on only ONE element as the driving force behind his killing spree is overly-simplistic, denying the multi-factorial nature of his behavior, with many moving parts at play: mental illness, misogyny, racism, not to mention the PERFECTLY-LEGAL easy access to weapons that people like Elliott have.

    That’s four factors: there may be more (eg AFAIK we don’t know if he was an atheist or believer, etc).

    But the rush to claim misogyny as the cause is ridiculously over-simplistic, since like racist ideation, it’s often a SYMPTOM, NOT the underlying cause of a killing spree. Yes, misogyny is an irrational interpretation of reality, and sometimes it’s adopted by sane people (who unlike Elliott, won’t actually ACT upon their thoughts).

    And above all, it’s always easier to blame everyone BUT ourselves for all of our problems, which is exactly what Elliot did, showing an utter lack of personal responsibility.

    Unfortunately countering that ugly tendency is far-more difficult than simply spouting platitudes that lays the blame at the feet of whatever one’s personal beef might be.

  16. says

    adamah, if Rodger had left behind a 140-page manifesto railing against the Jews, and if he had recorded multiple videos of himself blaming the Jews for all his problems, and announcing his elaborate plans to avenge himself upon the Jews by shooting up every synagogue he could find, would anyone even be arguing over whether or not the guy was an anti-Semite?

    And yet, he leaves behind exactly that kind of comprehensive hate-crazed testimonial concerning women, and we’re constantly informed that to attribute his violence to misogyny is “ridiculously over-simplistic.”

  17. adamah says

    Hi Martin,

    Here’s Jaclyn’s video which set off the firestorm:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kOfuVQC29s8

    And Cristina’s response:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UbcNppwco2U

    Yeah, I’m not at all impressed with Cristina’s knowledge of either principles of law and/or psychiatry (it’s generally not a good sign when someone opens their video with potty mouth words).

    Although both clearly are speaking way over their heads, I found Jaclyn’s comments to align with mine, ie she said it was a MULTI-FACTORIAL issue, where clearly the guy’s thinking was irrational and delusional. Most misogynists don’t kill women, just as most racists don’t kill.

    Furthermore, Christina seems to think that the mentally-ill don’t use a form of dysfunctional logic, or don’t have lucid moments? You can converse with someone and they seem perfectly logical and coherent, ur nil you encounter a bombshell…

    That’s precisely WHY we find them such a threat: they will easily rationalize their behavior in a manner that makes sense to only themselves.

    What exactly do you find in Christina’s arguments to be credible, Martin? I saw her offer only a series of irrelevancies, the very definition of red herrings.

    Adam

  18. Thinking says

    Martin, don’t you think it’s a little disingenuous to call out everyone involved for the lack of skepticism, but base your criticism on your subjective suspicions, impressions, and a rather baseless accusation that she’s a disingenuous “checker of the winds.”

    It seems like the skeptical and reasonable thinker you’re calling on everyone to be would seek an actual dialogue with Glenn to explore her beliefs and assess whether their opinion of her is accurate. Have you done so, or at least tried to do so?

    Your comments about Glenn come off as if from someone with an axe to grind.

  19. adamah says

    BTW, Christina seemed to make much of the fact that insanity is an extreme form of mental illness where the person is unable to distinguish right from wrong. People like Elliott have milder forms of mental illness, where they might comprehend the inherent wrongness of their actions but can rationalize away such thoughts in order to kill.

    And what that distinction has to do with claiming this murder spree was driven primarily by his misogyny, where mental illness played an insignificant role, is beyond my ability to fathom. I’m wondering if she’s even taken an ‘intro to psych’ course?

    Such “arrogance of the ignorant” is appalling, her even daring to make a video to post on YouTube before bothering to run her quixotic thinking past anyone who knows any better how mental health professionals view these types of situations, so someone could set her straight….

    Adam

  20. Monocle Smile says

    I’m glad you’re cognizant of this. As I was reading, my first thought was, “well, shit, here comes another 200+ comments of raw ax-grinding.”

    It will probably still happen, but now those responsible will look EXTRA stupid.

  21. Monocle Smile says

    It’s the cognitive dissonance that gets me.

    The anti-feminist nonsense that pops up in the atheist movement is pure doubletalk. On one hand, the MRA types do their level best to “disown” people like Stalin from atheism, because that’s not an association that should really happen in the first place.

    Five minutes later, they’re lumping in all feminists with the nutjob sociopaths who write on 4chan or some shit that they want to exterminate all men. It’s just using the worst excuse possible to rationalize an irrational mindset.

  22. Monocle Smile says

    It seems like the skeptical and reasonable thinker you’re calling on everyone to be would seek an actual dialogue with Glenn to explore her beliefs and assess whether their opinion of her is accurate.

    This is concern trolling. If Glenn’s videos don’t accurately represent her beliefs and ideals, then it’s her own damn fault for being disingenuous. Clearly she made that video for a reason.

  23. says

    But I was very clear to identify when I was only speaking of what my impressions were. They should not have been interpreted as me stating what I was certain were facts. (Which is why I wrote “it is also possible that…”) That Jaclyn and other YouTubers who take an anti-feminist line have found wild support from like-minded viewers is not something anyone could sensibly dispute. And generally speaking, the lucrative nature of controversy is overrated. One tends to find greater success in life reinforcing the status quo rather than challenging it.

    I’m sure that whenever we post blogs attacking Ken Ham or Ray Comfort or Pat Robertson, those people have supporters who’ll just dismiss us as having an axe to grind. So that’s neither here nor there. (And I have in fact enjoyed a number of video Jaclyn has made in the past. People have a hard time wrapping their heads around the notion that agreeing or disagreeing with someone is not by definition an all-or-nothing proposition.) If Jaclyn or Dusty or anyone else posts a video stating their position on something, then that video is intended by them to be a legitimate, public representation of their position. It’s entirely valid to critique the video on its own terms. Is additional dialogue nice? You bet. But no one gets the chance to have that kind of exchange with everyone they disagree with. With over 200K subs, I wouldn’t expect Jaclyn to offer rebuttals or dialogue to every criticism she gets. Still, I offer my opinions here, and people who disagree can offer me that dialogue and challenge me.

  24. Thinking says

    An accusation of concern trolling without any attempt to determine if it’s true? How is that skepticism at work?

    Martin has spoken of his suspicions, impressions, and made a completely baseless “suggestion” that Glenn chooses her positions based on what’s popular at the moment rather than choosing the “right” side of things. How can anyone be the skeptic *he* implores them to be by suggesting that calling out his failure to back these critiques up with substance is just “concern trolling?”

    Martin himself says above, and you seemingly agreed, that it isn’t the position people take, but how they respond to criticism. You respond to criticism of Martin by casually dismissing it as “concern trolling.” Casual dismissals are cheap. Is that the kind of response you think exemplifies a skeptical and reasonable person?

    Regarding Glenn, consider this. Maybe the message you took away from Glenn’s video was not the message she intended you to take away. Maybe it was because she didn’t express herself well, or maybe it was because your perspective begins with certain assumptions about her, her beliefs, and the world that colors how you interpret what she says. Communication is not perfect, yet you suggest that a failure of a *viewer* to understand her perfectly is *her* being disingenuous?

  25. Thinking says

    You didn’t really address my criticism, Martin. I acknowledged that you were floating your opinion. The criticism is precisely that. You did so without providing any substance to back up the opinions you floated. Moreover, you made a completely baseless accusation, or suggestion if you prefer, that Glenn’s videos don’t express her actual beliefs, rather express whatever will make her money.

    Whether you have enjoyed Glenn’s videos in the past is neither here nor there. That supporters of Ray Comfort, Ken Ham, or Pat Robertson may dismiss our criticisms of them is neither here nor there. The criticism here is that you floated your opinions about Glenn without providing any substance within the context of criticizing Glenn, Dawkins, and those who might agree with them for a failure to apply skepticism.

    When I asked if you’d ever had a dialogue with Glenn to ascertain if your opinions of her had substance, or had even tried to do so, you replied that not only you hadn’t, but that you hadn’t even tried. You just assumed she would never reply to your questions or queries, so decided that whatever opinion you drew from her videos would be good enough to understand her as a person.

    I don’t know about you, Martin, but I can remember *many* conversations from my life where despite being right in front of the other individual, talking in person, we have misunderstood one another. The words we used in an attempt to convey a message were misunderstood to convey a message very different than we intended. If we had simply gone our separate ways, assuming we understood what the other intended to say based on that misunderstanding, we would have believed each other to be very different people than we actually are. We resolved that by having additional dialogue. Sure, that additional dialogue is not always possible, but it my recognition that this kind of misunderstanding can happen that challenges me to reflect on not just my opinions of others, but how those opinions may impact how I interpret what they say.

    I’m not trying to casually dismiss your critique of Glenn’s video. I’m saying that your opinions of Glenn, based on subjective suspicions, impressions, and “suggestions” regarding her financial motivations rather than any actual dialogue or direct exploration of her beliefs, give every appearance of informing your interpretation of her video. *That* is what I mean by suggesting that it sounds like you have an axe to grind. If your interpretation of her video has led you to an incorrect or otherwise unintended conclusion, then your criticism of Dawkins’ judgement to promote it would be likewise flawed.

  26. says

    Regarding Glenn, consider this. Maybe the message Jaclyn took away from “Atheism+” was not the message they intended her to take away. Maybe it was because they didn’t express themselves well, or maybe it was because her perspective began with certain assumptions about them, their beliefs, and the world that colors how she interprets what they say.

    Communication is not perfect, yet you suggest that a failure of a *viewer* to understand her perfectly is *her* being disingenuous?

    Didn’t you just concede that she might simply not have expressed herself well?

  27. says

    You did so without providing any substance to back up the opinions you floated. Moreover, you made a completely baseless accusation, or suggestion if you prefer, that Glenn’s videos don’t express her actual beliefs, rather express whatever will make her money.

    And I could be wrong about that, as I’ve said. She could be expressing these views to improve her popularity, or they could be an honest opinion, or it could be both.

    I don’t know why you think everything you’re saying about the often muddled nature of communication and the propensity to misunderstand others and filter information through prejudices is some great insight I’m hitherto unaware of. But again, if you’re really arguing that because of this…

    When I asked if you’d ever had a dialogue with Glenn to ascertain if your opinions of her had substance, or had even tried to do so, you replied that not only you hadn’t, but that you hadn’t even tried. You just assumed she would never reply to your questions or queries, so decided that whatever opinion you drew from her videos would be good enough to understand her as a person.

    …my opinions of Jaclyn’s videos are without basis, I have to say that’s simply foolish. Do you honestly think that every editorialist, every blogger, every journalist, every pundit, every political science professor, every politician, every guy in a coffee shop who’s ever had a critical opinion of something said by George Bush or Barack Obama or Mitt Romney or whomever will realistically have the opportunity to talk face to face with those people to see if they properly understand them as a person first? Do you really think that no one can have a valid criticism of any public statements made by anyone who chooses to be a public figure, until they’ve first managed to schedule a personal interview?

    The very idea is silly. Public figures make public statements, and if they wish those statements to be taken in the manner intended, it is up to them to communicate well.

    As I’ve made abundantly clear, when I talk about things such as why YouTubers may or may not do things to get views, I make it very clear I’m expressing an opinion. It’s quite a tell that you’re making such a big issue out of what I’ve said, and yet not giving any consideration at all to the fact that, however right or wrong I might be in thinking Jaclyn’s motivated by views (which pretty much any big YouTuber is, I know enough of them), it’s not a patch on the perfectly wacky straw man caricature that made up pretty much her entire video. Jaclyn’s total cartoon character version of “Atheism+” proponents is fine with you, and you see no need to consider that she hasn’t engaged in “any actual dialogue or direct exploration of their beliefs.” Me making an offhand comment about channel views means my whole judgment is flawed. Are you beginning to see the double standard in your own arguments that you’re attempting to project onto mine?

  28. Thinking says

    Regarding Glenn, consider this. Maybe the message Jaclyn took away from “Atheism+” was not the message they intended her to take away. Maybe it was because they didn’t express themselves well, or maybe it was because her perspective began with certain assumptions about them, their beliefs, and the world that colors how she interprets what they say.

    Didn’t you just concede that she might simply not have expressed herself well?

    Absolutely, Martin. Glenn may not only be misunderstanding Atheism+, but also not be expressing herself well. I’m not denying that at all.

    What I’m suggesting is not that she’s right or wrong about Atheism+, but that the message she’s trying to convey in her video may not be the message that you appear to have received. That you might have received a different message than she may have intended may be the result of her not expressing herself well, or the result of an incorrect interpretation of her message.

    For example, the message I received from her video was that she was expressing how she felt regarding interactions she’s experienced recently. She ended her video, “…and this is my life now.” This is about her and the drama as she experiences it. It is not a substantive attempt to critique Atheism+. I apparently received a very different message from her video than you did. Why might that be? Which of us received the correct message? Did either of us?

    One might suggest that any incorrect interpretation of her message could be the result as a result of an incorrect interpretation of her intent, informed by an incorrect understanding of her as a person, informed by the subjective opinions we may possess about her. Our opinions of others usually forms the foundation of how we understand the things they say.

    Considering that you don’t know her, you’ve never spoken with her, and seemingly never even tried to speak with her, those opinions are without substance. If that’s good enough for you, that’s your business. I’m just saying that you might want to consider how your subjective opinion of Glenn might inform your interpretation of her video.

  29. Thinking says

    As I’ve made abundantly clear, when I talk about things such as why YouTubers may or may not do things to get views, I make it very clear I’m expressing an opinion. It’s quite a tell that you’re making such a big issue out of what I’ve said, and yet not giving any consideration at all to the fact that, however right or wrong I might be in thinking Jaclyn’s motivated by views (which pretty much any big YouTuber is, I know enough of them), it’s not a patch on the perfectly wacky straw man caricature that made up pretty much her entire video. Jaclyn’s total cartoon character version of “Atheism+” proponents is fine with you, and you see no need to consider that she hasn’t engaged in “any actual dialogue or direct exploration of their beliefs.” Me making an offhand comment about channel views means my whole judgment is flawed. Are you beginning to see the double standard in your own arguments that you’re attempting to project onto mine?

    And as I’ve made abundantly clear, we’re simply talking about different things, Martin.

    I’m trying to point out that you have formed an opinion of Glenn as a person, and that your opinion of Glenn is influencing your interpretation of what she’s trying to say. I’m neither defending her position on Atheism+, nor criticizing yours. I’m trying to point out that the conclusion you drew about what message she’s trying to convey is not the only conclusion, and is not even the most reasonable conclusion.

    You have a certain opinion about her. You have a certain opinion about YouTube personalities. Those opinions influence what you think they are saying, trying to say, or what they really mean when their words are less than clear.

    Do you honestly think that every editorialist, every blogger, every journalist, every pundit, every political science professor, every politician, every guy in a coffee shop who’s ever had a critical opinion of something said by George Bush or Barack Obama or Mitt Romney or whomever will realistically have the opportunity to talk face to face with those people to see if they properly understand them as a person first? Do you really think that no one can have a valid criticism of any public statements made by anyone who chooses to be a public figure, until they’ve first managed to schedule a personal interview?

    Not at all, Martin. what I’m saying is that if those personalities wish to be seen as discerning critics of issues, they need more to back up their opinions than, “I think YouTubers will probably say anything for money,” and back up their suspicions and impressions with some degree of substance and/or reason. They might actually try to get an interview with their subject, or find someone who has. Those who just float unfounded opinions to support their interpretation of events are rightly derided for producing empty, fluff articles.

    If you’re fine with the latter, that’s certainly your business. Just remember what you said above:

    It isn’t what position people take — though yes, I think if you’re against the side who are supportive of the idea that women and other marginalized classes ought to be treated with respect and equality and humanity, I’m not on your team — but how they respond to criticism.

    *Emphasis mine.

  30. says

    I’m not sure why you think you’ve scored a gotcha moment by emphasizing that quote. My response to criticism has, so far, been to have a discussion with you. Perhaps I could have done a Jaclyn and written a whole fresh post, in which I pretended to be a caricature of “Thinking,” stuffed with straw and babbling like a loon, acting like a big silly poopyhead so we could all laugh at him. Would that have met with your approval? I suspect not.

    I’m neither defending her position on Atheism+, nor criticizing yours.

    I haven’t actually expressed an opinion on A+ here, but I know what you mean… If you’re now insisting you don’t actually have a dog in this hunt, it prompts the question of what your point even is. Because now you’re down to saying stuff like, “You have opinions, and you form them for these reasons, and they are influenced by things.” Many thanks, Captain Obvious. And you’re accusing me of a lack of substance?

    And while you may disagree with my opinion of how YouTubers run their channels, and while those may or may not apply to Jaclyn, it is not, in fact, an unfounded opinion. It’s been learned via my personal friendships with several full-time YouTubers, at least one of whom makes six figures doing it. YouTubers, especially those who monetize their channels and derive actual income from them, do indeed record what they believe will most please their subscribers and bring in the highest views. In this way YouTube is no different than traditional broadcast media ever was.

  31. Thinking says

    I’m not sure why you think you’ve scored a gotcha moment by emphasizing that quote. My response to criticism has, so far, been to have a discussion with you. Perhaps I could have done a Jaclyn and written a whole fresh post, in which I pretended to be a caricature of “Thinking,” stuffed with straw and babbling like a loon, acting like a big silly poopyhead so we could all laugh at him. Would that have met with your approval? I suspect not.

    You assume a lot, Martin. A lot about what Glenn, Dawkins, and even I, think. That seems readily apparent by now, I think.

    I haven’t actually expressed an opinion on A+ here, but I know what you mean… If you’re now insisting you don’t actually have a dog in this hunt, it prompts the question of what your point even is. Because now you’re down to saying stuff like, “You have opinions, and you form them for these reasons, and they are influenced by things.” Many thanks, Captain Obvious. And you’re accusing me of a lack of substance?

    You can suggest that you haven’t expressed an opinion about Atheism+, here, but I’ll leave that determination to the court of public opinion.

    If you’ve actually read my comments thus far, I think you’ll understand that I’m not suggesting I don’t have a dog in this hunt. Rather, I’m designating which dog is mine, but I’ll leave that to the court of public opinion as well.

    And while you may disagree with my opinion of how YouTubers run their channels, and while those may or may not apply to Jaclyn, it is not, in fact, an unfounded opinion. It’s been learned via my personal friendships with several full-time YouTubers, at least one of whom makes six figures doing it. YouTubers, especially those who monetize their channels and derive actual income from them, do indeed record what they believe will most please their subscribers and bring in the highest views. In this way YouTube is no different than traditional broadcast media ever was.

    You can say what you like about the YouTube personalities you say you know but, as you readily say, those YouTubers are not Glenn, of course. Court of public opinion, etc…

  32. Jaco van says

    It’s response to criticism that counts… I’m reminded here of Richard Carrier. I admire the way he responds to criticism; I think many people would do well to take leaf out of his book.

    Good article, Martin.

  33. adamah says

    FWIW, I too was a bit surprised to see Martin stooping to ‘poisoning Jaclyn’s well': that’s a foul, esp when it’s based only on mere speculation and circumstantial evidence, since it’s basically a fishing expedition.

    It was all the more surprising when it’s coming from someone associated with the show: they know first-hand what it’s like to have THEIR motives questioned by others, and even though Martin now excuses it as his opinion, that’s simply stating the obvious: my default as a reader is to assume the person is always offering their opinion, esp when it’s unsupported by evidence.

    If I had it my way, I’d make use of the acronym ‘IMO’ a criminal offense, esp when the context makes it perfectly clear that’s exactly what the person is offering (ie unless they attribute the opinion to its source). In any case, saying it’s ONLY one’s opinion is certainly no defense to being rightly called on an ad-hominem.

    I’ve seen a few of her videos, and I don’t detect a whiff of hypocrisy in the video: she’s a straight shooter and speaks her mind. That’s why she’s gathered such a loyal following (and she’ll likely be picked up by MSM before too long, as she’s not just a vapid doll; she’s got talent).

    FWIW, I find it just as offensive to question Sye’s motives (eg “he’s doing it for the $$$”), or anyone else’s, because it’s usually tangential to the actual argument under discussion. Hence it’s an irrelevant and generally-unproductive line of thinking to pursue, esp if you lack a “smoking gun” to prove it.

    Martin, this is uncharacteristic for you, but it goes to prove one of your points above: nobody’s human. ;)

    I have tons of respect for you, and you’re one my fave hosts (due to your calm manner and humor when under fire), but your co-host Russell earned my respect recently by having the courage to admit he was wrong and apologize on the air to a caller! I don’t know why people find that so hard to do (well, I DO: their egos), but it’s actually a sign of strength.

    Adam

  34. adamah says

    I see I didn’t address Martin’s comment directly:

    adamah, if Rodger had left behind a 140-page manifesto railing against the Jews, and if he had recorded multiple videos of himself blaming the Jews for all his problems, and announcing his elaborate plans to avenge himself upon the Jews by shooting up every synagogue he could find, would anyone even be arguing over whether or not the guy was an anti-Semite?

    Granted, Jacylyn’s title of the video was ill-conceived and misleading (“madman vs misogynist”), since it drew the situation as binary, as an ‘either/or’ situation. I suppose that may have been her intent at highlighting the tendency of some to oversimplify situations? I dunno..

    But in the video itself, she clearly explained this was a MULTI-FACTORIAL problem, where multiple causes were involved to explain why Elliott killed (mental illness being the elephant in the room). We can argue all day long attributing %ages of their respective contributions, but that’s about as pointless as debating how many angels can dance the tango on the head of a pin (and the answer would depend on which school of Tango the angels went to, ie Argentinian vs Venezuelan, etc).

    As I recently did with our resident 9/11 Truther, sometimes it’s useful to simply concede the point and ask what the person wants the rest of us to do.

    So in this case, let’s assume that Elliot was driven 100% by misogyny, alone: no other factors were involved.

    Practically speaking, where does such a concession get the feminist movement? Are feminists suggesting increasing the penalties for misogynistic-driven murders and hate crimes? In fact, is that even a goal, with specific proposed legislation waiting in the wings? Don’t current hate crime laws offer amplifications that already cover that situation?

    More importantly, would it likely be effective in a case where the mass murderer already committed suicide?

    Would such laws offer a deterrent to other self-involved mentally-ill individuals who are considering going on a similar rampage?

    By definition, sociopaths are not exactly known for their ability to empathize with others, or to apply the examples of others to their own lives; by definition, narcissists are self-involved (and when Elliott said “I don’t know why” women didn’t find him attractive, he was absolutely truthful: even if someone told him the reason, he still wouldn’t allow it to register since he was utterly-mired in his own thinking, with a one-track mind).

    The problem of feminists claiming misogyny as the most-important factor is one of over-reach: it’s overstating the truth.

    As Jaclyn said, it does the feminist movement no good to alienate males who’d otherwise be sympathetic to their cause: it’s simply shooting themselves in the foot to make hyperbolic claims that only allow an airing of frustrations which alleviate some of the stress (which is also what I got out of Jaclyn’s parody video: a WTF?!? sense of stress alleviation, since she cannot understand the thinking that leads her critics to attack her).

    And just like heterosexuals commit rape for various reasons (exercise control, to humiliate another person, misogyny, or even out of pure heterosexual lust and seeking sexual gratification, etc), teasing out the exact reasons WHY someone rapes is unnecessary and pointless (at least during the criminal punishment phase). We don’t simply declare ALL heterosexual desires as the root of the problem and try to stamp those out; instead we declare the ACT of rape as illegal, regardless of motive.

    We cannot outlaw hatred of females: only ACTING upon those feelings.

    Which leads to the fact there’s also significant ‘freedom of thought’ issues at play: hate-speech laws aside, our constitutionally-protected rights to free speech (and freedom of thought, a prerequisite to free speech) all but eliminates the possibility of criminalizing any of Elliott’s rants.

    Unless there is a specific threat to harm to himself or others, there’s nothing law enforcement can do to intervene. (It seems a tad excessive to have LEOs monitoring YouTube videos all day long to see if anyone oversteps the boundaries.)

    Free speech is the very reason we have to tolerate vehement hate-filled speech of modern right-wing hate groups: as onerous as it may be, it’s still only just a thought and speech, and should not be squelched by the govt since that would suppressing the free-speech rights of all citizens.

    Along those lines, feminists should be reminded that depicting Elliot as mentally-ill in no way trivializes or diminishes their cause of fighting misogyny. Rather, by accepting that Elliot was first and foremost mentally-ill, feminists can point out how misogyny seems perfectly rational to the mentally-il, such that he was willing to kill others due to his hatred. That’s hardly an endorsement.

    Instead, feminists seemingly got side-tracked from their goal by demanding that anything less than seeing this as caused 100% by misogyny is further evidence of widespread misogyny.

    Huh?

    Sorry, I’m not a big fan of any cause driven by artificially creating a false sense of urgency and crisis and those who engage in ‘special pleading’ demanding exceptional handling for their cause (esp if it’s been given in the past, and they’re asking for a continuance, due to the disabling effect it paradoxically fosters by encouraging people to see themselves as ‘victims’).

    It seems some haven’t given up their love for that kind of thing, and have simply adopted the same ol’ familiar methodology of religion, except are now applying it to the feminist cause instead of a theological sales pitch?

    No thanks; I ‘ve had enough of that kind of irrational thinking to last a life-time….

    Adam

  35. Bryan Long says

    Adam, we do not need to tolerate racist or sexist speech. They have a right to their speech, but we also have the free speech to criticize them and call them out. No one is calling for a youtuber to be silenced by the law, just using our free speech to point out reasons people should voluntarily stop listening.

  36. AhmNee says

    Hey, Martin.
    I understand what you’re trying to get at here but there was a much larger conversation that was going on beyond the Glenn-Rad exchange both on Youtube and Twitter that you may have missed.
     
    For example:
    http://tinyurl.com/pj56tyt
     
    I’m not claiming this as anything but my impressions but there seems to be a “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” sentiment with certain feminist activists that may or may not be representative on the whole but certainly like to portray they are.
     
    I watched as Matt was similarly attacked on twitter just weeks ago by certain activists who went on to twist and misrepresent what Matt was saying until it was a parody of what he was arguing. And it was my impression it had nothing to do with what Matt’s point was but rather that he dared to challenge them at all. Certainly they did not engage Matt’s argument.
     
    My sympathies lie in the direction of feminism. There are certain actors, however, that seem to either seek things to get offended over, or don’t seem to be looking for equality but rather their turn to be the dominant group. I would never go so far as to call these people representative, though in my experience these individuals would like others to think they are.
     
    I normally try not to wade into these waters. I’m male, I’m white and I recognize both my privilege and that I’m not representative of my demographic. That last part has been continually hammered home over the last decade or so. But I’m prone to digression so I’ll stop short of getting into my views on political correctness, social justice, etc.
     
    I know that Glenn’s video engaged in hyperbole but I think it was less inaccurate when the conversation that’s been going on is looked at on the whole.

  37. maudell says

    Wow. It’s amazing how many commenters missed the point of the OP. The point isn’t about feminism vs non-feminists, it’s about self-proclaimed skeptics who create strawmen, destroy them and then complain that the people criticizing them are divisive and wish to create drama. And to make that point about how divisive drama is, the people who are so against drama write 2,000 dramatic blog posts and pat themselves in the back about how skeptical and empirical they are.
    Yes! Feminists do that too sometimes! But that’s completely beside the point.

  38. AhmNee says

    My point was that it’s not as much as strawman as it’s being made out to be. Hyperbolic, possibly. But it’s accuracy is debatable.

  39. Monocle Smile says

    Hey, look: someone who actually gets it!

    Of course, I think it was pretty predictable that this thread would become exactly what it has. Because we still can’t have nice things.

  40. adamah says

    Looks like PZ Meyers jumped into the fray before doing some basic fact-checking of his own, as pointed out toward the end of Jaclyn’s response video:

    http://youtu.be/DnHpLmsimxo

    Granted, Jaclyn was sloppy in her use of terminology in the original video, and Cristina rightly pointed out the distinction between ‘mentally-ill’ and ‘insane’ (a legal term for severe mental illness such that the person is unable to discern the wrongness of killing another).

    However, that’s excusable, and it hardly undermines her main point that there’s a tendency for some to snatch stories from the headlines and shoehorn their cause into it, whether it fits or not.

    However, Cristina is sticking to her guns on her, “Elliot was driven exclusively by (societal) misogyny, and not mental illness” hypothesis.

    Here’s an example which should demonstrate why that claim is over-reaching and an over-simplification:

    Per his manifesto, the Unibomber killed others because he was protesting technological encroachment. Another infamous serial killer said he killed his victims because he wanted to capture their souls to serve as his slaves in the after-life.

    See a problem looming in the headlights by relying on the killer’s stated motives?

    We simply don’t place much credence in the deranged killer’s stated rationale for their motives, precisely BECAUSE they’re mentally-ill. That alone is sufficient to explain WHY they killed, and not whatever delusional belief they may have held that explains WHO they may have targeted to kill.

    And while blaming societal misogyny may make sense on an intuitive level to some (esp if they’re primed to accept it), that shouldn’t suffice for a critical thinker: Cristina still needs to “connected the dots” by explaining how widespread societal misogyny drove Elliot to kill (and it’s explanatory power completely fails to explain his racist rants, which certainty explains why he targeted his Asian MALE roommates).

    Granted, societal misogyny MAY be a factor, but she hasn’t presented ANY evidence to support that assertion.

    We all know the rules, which some seemingly have forgotten:

    “The one making the claim bears the ‘burden of proof’ to provide supportive evidence.”

    That rule applies to everyone, feminist or not, regardless of what’s underneath the belt.

    (And I’d argue it’s more demeaning to grant ‘special exceptions’ to women, as if following the same principles is just too much for their feminine brains to handle? Can you say, ‘condescending’?

    And for the love of Christ, why do some atheist males collapse into jellyfish and lose all sense of rationality when it comes to discussing feminism?)

    Anyway, Cristina has to show how societal misogynistic attitudes specifically led Elliot to hate women (where indications point to his long history of failed INTERPERSONAL relationships with females, as well as extremist bigoted thoughts found on sites like PUA forums).

    These factors stand a World apart from ‘widespread cultural misogyny’ as reflected in mainstream societal norms.

    But she can’t stop there, since she then needs to clear the hurdle of explaining how societal misogyny led him to not only HATE women, but to KILL them.

    And while Elliot’s personal misogyny (or more accurately, his misanthropy, i.e. hatred for ALL humanity) may explain HOW he selected his targets, it doesn’t explain WHY he pulled the trigger to actually kill.

    Cristina would need to present valid studies suggesting a link existing between widespread cultural misogyny and higher rates of killing women. But she’d also have to specifically prove it for Elliott, since she made that specific claim that HE killed as a result of cultural misogyny.

    Anything short of that is sloppy thinking, and should be rejected as such.

    Cristina is seemingly guilty of making a series of hasty conclusions, excluding other possible alternatives (AKA creating a false dichotomy) in order to reach her desired outcome.

    If there’s any over-arching lesson to be learned from all of this, it’s that you’d best be damned sure to line up your ducks in a row before calling others out on their errors: otherwise one risks wearing egg on one’s face (that is if you’re lucky enough to have those willing to point out possible flaws in your reasoning, and doesn’t simply allow you to mire in your own illogical thoughts and persist in thinking you’re right and everyone else is wrong).

    Personally, I’d be extremely reluctant to call out Richard Dawkins on ANY topic (much less a topic involving biology!), since the guy rarely gets his facts wrong.

    There, does that clear things up?

    Adam

  41. AhmNee says

    Cristina rightly pointed out the distinction between ‘mentally-ill’ and ‘insane’ (a legal term for severe mental illness such that the person is unable to discern the wrongness of killing another).

    As I pointed out on Rad’s blog, that’s not entirely true. What you’re describing is what is valid for an insanity defense. Psychopathy or Sociopathy are also mental illnesses but are most often not defensible.

    http://law.jrank.org/pages/7670/Insanity-Defense-Psychopaths-Sociopaths.html

  42. adamah says

    AhmNee said-

    As I pointed out on Rad’s blog, that’s not entirely true. What you’re describing is what is valid for an insanity defense. Psychopathy or Sociopathy are also mental illnesses but are most often not defensible.

    What part specifically are you objecting to as being not entirely true? Can you explain?

    You DO realize that the size of the sub-set is variable, right, and just because a patient is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and experiences auditory hallucinations that tell him to kill his family, that doesn’t mean the jury is going to buy his defense and declare him to be not guilty, right?

    (My comments above assume the person was actually declared to be insane, and not simply that he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, a form of mental-illness.)

    Let me back up and explain for everyone else:

    There is no single universally-accepted definition of the term, ‘mental illness’, so the usage varies amongst mental health professionals and social workers.

    Nevertheless, the term encompasses a broad spectrum of conditions characterized as thought/mood disorders, including a sub-set of individuals who are actively experiencing serious psychotic symptoms which makes them statistically more-likely to commit violent crimes than the general population.

    (It bears remembering that most people suffering from mental illness are NOT criminals, and of those who are, most don’t commit violent crimes.)

    Of those that DO commit violence, some may be determined to be ‘insane’, which as I explained above is a LEGAL determination (ie it’s NOT a psych diagnosis, so don’t bother looking for it in a DSM V) where a judge/jury applies specific criteria to determine if the individual was able to comprehend the wrongness of their actions at the time they committed the crime.

    If the jury finds them to be ‘not guilty, by reason of insanity’, they aren’t allowed to get off scot-free, but instead are sentenced to a prison which offers mental health services, and they’re generally segregated from the general prison population.

    Those determined to be legally-insane are a very-tiny subset of the mentally-ill population, and tend to be on the severe end of the spectrum.

    Yes, there are other situations in which someone can be ruled to be legally-insane (and committed against their will), but that’s the context it was mentioned in their video.

    Adam

  43. Monocle Smile says

    And while Elliot’s personal misogyny (or more accurately, his misanthropy, i.e. hatred for ALL humanity) may explain HOW he selected his targets, it doesn’t explain WHY he pulled the trigger to actually kill.

    I second this as the most accurate portrayal of the situation. Like you said, most racists and sexists don’t go on killing sprees. Misogyny was only a major factor in target selection; his issues and motives for actually killing people run deeper.

  44. Max says

    While I’m glad you realize that both sides do this, it’s a little convenient that you only call it out after someone on the opposite side of you does it. And of course, the comments are full of anecdotes of things they’ve seen “MRAs” do (I guess we’re just supposed to take their word that they were actually MRAs and not just being labeled MRAs by the commenters because they didn’t like what they were saying). It would’ve been helpful if used additional real-life examples.

    One thing I love about your show is when the hosts will disagree with each other, call them on it, and it doesn’t result in a big cry fest. You actually demonstrate how to respond to reasonable criticism. I think this blog post just doesn’t live up to that example.

  45. adamah says

    Bryan said-

    Adam, we do not need to tolerate racist or sexist speech.

    Well, let’s just nip this blossoming ‘equivocation fallacy’ (centered on the word, ‘we’) in the bud right now.

    By ‘we’, I was referring to the GOV’T needing to tolerate speech, not attempting to censor or regulate it amongst citizens.

    I’m not speaking of the average citizen, who not only enjoys the right of free speech, but also enjoys the right to ‘vote with their feet': they don’t have to listen to any speech they find offensive, and if for whatever reason they choose not to engage with the speake to counter with reason, they can simply walk away. No one can force anyone to listen to anything against their will.

    (And in the context of YT bloggers, it should be fairly obvious they can’t force anyone to watch their videos against their will: it’s not the vlogger’s fault if some viewers lack sufficient self-control and simply cannot help themselves from viewing.)

    They have a right to their speech, but we also have the free speech to criticize them and call them out.

    Yes you do, but if you want to maintain your cred as a rationalist, it would be nice to be able to offer some logical rationale for your criticism.

    If you want to discuss the facts, then be my guest. And if you want to vent about the smart atheist feminist who beat you to a bloody pulp by using your own words against you, and gave a boo-boo to your ego, then also be my guest….

    As I said elsewhere, unless you just enjoy a warm pore-cleansing egg facial, you’d be wise to think twice before “calling others out”, making damned sure you have all the facts before you do.

    Oh, I see your actual agenda emerging in the sentence that follows:

    No one is calling for a youtuber to be silenced by the law, just using our free speech to point out reasons people should voluntarily stop listening.

    I agree, and I even pointed out a few reasons why we should begin a voluntary boycott against YouTuber Cristina and her videos, which are chockfull of hyperbolic fallacious arguments she creates.

    Is that what you meant?

    And sure, if there’s one thing that we all know from history, it’s how boycott campaigns are ALWAYS a GREAT idea, where there’s no possibility of back-firing! Yes sirree, a YT vlogger is going to be harmed by the free publicity and controversy generated, since no member of the public would be curious to check out the videos for themselves!

    After that, perhaps we can hold a few good book-burning campaigns, too? I’ll being the weinies to the bonfire!

    :)

    Oh, For those who can’t tell, my preceding comments were intended as unadulterated sarcasm, expressing the exact opposite of what I actually believe; it was delivered in a hyperbolic manner to make a point. I DONT actually endorse censorship or boycotting of ideas, perhaps since it’s seems oddly reminiscent of a tactic religions use?

    As a kid raised as a JW, we burned a stack of albums, books, etc. which were deemed as “Satanic Worldly influences” (including early Beatles albums, with songs with heretical titles such as, “All You Need Is Love”! Check out the nerve of those servants of the Devil, trying to convert others with their evil sentiments! Get behind me, Satan!

    Jaclyn apparently fluffs the feathers of some feminists, and my working hypothesis based on my observations of human behavior) is there’s nothing that would-be advocates with an agenda to “sell” hate more than someone who serves as a counter-example, pointing out why their campaign is unnecessary. She’s the embodiment of an successful atheist and feminist, telling others that advocacy is not about engaging in hare-brained publicity campaigns as much as using more strategic tactics to deliver messages.

    Jaclyn is a smart and strong young women who doesn’t pull any punches, but speaks her mind; that’s apparently a threat by those seeking to gain some perceived power via forming organizations/advocacy groups, whether women or men.

    (I suspect it’s the old, “who does SHE think she is?” thing, the battle-cry of the mediocre. Camille Paglia ran into the same resistance from feminists for refusing to kow-tow to organizational dictates to establish a “party line”: she dared to ‘walk the talk’ and earned the ire and green-eyed envy of some feminists who preferred to remain mired in their comfortable ‘playing the perpetual victim’ role.)

    On that note, here’s a few fun facts:

    80% of homicide victims in the US are MALES.

    And when women are murdered, it’s extremely unlikely it will be at the hands of a complete stranger (as in the SB tragedy), but committed by someone they know and live with under the same roof (ie a significant other, or a family member).

    Statistically-speaking, this killing spree in SB was an outlier, since the female victims didn’t know the killer.

    But screw the facts, and let’s just create a publicity campaign that creates a fear of ALL males (even strangers) in women, since propagating misinformation and lies is ALWAYS a good idea, right?

    Who CARES about facts, right?

    (Note: that is sarcastic hyperbole, for any who still has a problem discerning it when they see it).

    Where’s the similar outrage and concern over MALE deaths due to homicide, and the effect these feminists are having by encouraging ‘societal misandry’ by perpetuating such ignorant thinking with their publicity campaign?

    Jaclyn nailed it in her video that there are “vultures” always willing to callously disregard the pain and suffering of the families and survivors of victims, scrutinizing the story to see if there’s not something they can glean from it to push their agenda.

    National Review writer and editor Richard Lowry wrote the following editorial (called “#hashtagidiocy”). If some here are getting their undergarments in a twist over Jaclyn’s and my sentiments, you’d be advised to pre-emptively boycott Richard’s blunt words (he takes off the kid gloves):

    http://www.nationalreview.com/node/379106/print

    (Couldn’t resist, could ya’?)

    Such media campaigns (as #yesallwomen) are the moral and ideological equivalent of locals who saw the downing of an airliner over Ukraine as a stroke of good fortune, so they can glean for valuables (iPhones, credit cards, jewelry, etc) on the bodies of the victims; likely rationalizing their actions away with, “If I don’t, someone else will…” (AKA diffusion of responsibility).

    Sadly, that’s also an ugly side-effect of forming advocacy groups: a similar diffusion of personal responsibility emboldens people to do things in the name of the cause they’d never dream of doing ‘under their own steam’ (it’s the same source of power upon which religions rely, where normal people will commit atrocities in a group setting, esp when acting under the color of Divine Authority).

    I wrote an article on my blog about Phil Zimbardo’s famous study of what people will do when acting under the authority of another:

    http://awgue.weebly.com/countering-jw-shunning-how-the-implications-of-stanley-milgrams-work-may-suggest-using-a-different-approach.html

    His work offers lessons to would-be advocates of all causes who seek to form organizations.

    Bottom line is it’s reprehensible behavior to callously exploit such events to further some agenda, esp if the facts of situation don’t “fit” the cause; sadly it’s also human nature that people will attempt to shoe-horn their cause into places it doesn’t want to go.

    Susceptibility to becoming a victim of our ‘biases’ by seeking to confirm them is clearly not just for believers: this thread should serve as testimony to that.

    Adam

  46. AhmNee says

    Rad was claiming what is legally insane, according to the law, was “not knowing right from wrong”. And that’s not entirely accurate. What she is describing as legally insane is a subset of what is valid for an insanity defense. The point I was making there and here is a distinction beyond what is a valid insanity defense in the eyes of the law to what is actually considered insane.

    Otherwise, I agree with the rest of your post.

  47. Tatiana says

    I agree and disagree a little bit with everyone involved.

    First of all, without the background, just that specific video of Jaclyn isn’t saying much. I generally do not choose that style of satire, because it is indeed “dangerous”, but I accept it occasionally as a good means to make a point in an entertaining way. And she does make a valid point, that often people might be bickering over unimportant details and missing -and doing a disservice to- the bigger picture. In this case the bigger picture is humanism which entails equality for all regardless of gender, religion etc. Her point is valid in general, but the question is was it valid on that particular occasion; i.e. the conversation about Elliot.

    Either girl’s video about Elliot wasn’t entirely correct and it wasn’t very impressive to me, either. Don’t get me wrong, they’re better than the average person’s youtube video, but still it’s clear that they’re both talking about subjects that they are not in a good position to talk about. They’re correcting other people’s words while they themselves make mistakes that a lawyer or psychiatrist would consider elementary. And they are often using terms liberally. So, Jaclyn made mistakes, but Christina did, too, e.g. by suddenly requesting terminology to be used correctly, while she also inevitably made mistakes herself. Don’t get me wrong; of course I don’t take it lightly and in fact you’ll often hear me complain about the misuse of terms and I also think we should care about being correct. However, we should offer corrections about things that we are in the position to know, otherwise we risk correcting a mistake by offering a different mistake. Personally, I accept both of their positions as good enough for youtube vlogger, but I would not claim either is entirely correct.

    So, while I agree with some of Christina’s criticism of Jaclyn, I don’t consider her position so much more correct. If it were a clear black and white case I’d feel differently about Jaclyn’s response.
    And while I do not like Jaclyn’s satire, I don’t consider it that much of a big deal. It’s more of a lack of politeness than an actual “intellectual dishonesty”. At least not more than all humans, the best of skeptics, suffer from. I’d say Christina’s video was also not leaving room about her being wrong.
    And I don’t think we know RD actually knew what that video was about. Maybe he just saw that people went after Jaclyn and then watched her video and agreed with her point not knowing what led up to it.
    And I would say that the tone of this particular article also implies that someone’s sure they’re right and someone else is wrong. Someone’s not willing to entertain that they might be wrong about Jaclyn being right.

    I’m sorry but I don’t see this as a case where someone is demonstrably wrong (like 9/11 truthers, creationists and the other examples you used), so I think your point is not as strong as you think it is. And while I agree that it is suspicious when “you slap a dismissive term on anyone critiquing your critique, and voila, you are immune from critique”, it’s not always wrong.

    E.g. I could say “Creationists are brain-washed”, a creationist might respond to that with “I’m not brain-washed, I simply follow what the bible says” and I could say “See? They did it again”.

    To sum up, regardless of whether Jaclyn was wrong initially, doesn’t this whole discussion seem to validate the point she was trying -maybe for the wrong reasons- to make?

    PS “Sorry if that’s what someone told you when you came on board. But some men will just tell a pretty lady anything.” I’m beyond words.

  48. Bryan Long says

    I guess I did say that wrong, you were not calling for everyone to tolerate hat speech, but just for the government. But why did you bring up the government in the first place? This is a discussion about blogs and youtube. You jump around and make so many arguments, that what actually pertains to the issues raised by Martin get lost or forgotten by the time anyone finishes reading your posts.

    And this is an example of what makes social justice people upset. Someone coming in and making all their pet arguments when we are trying to have a specific discussion. (You bring up murder statistics and all kinds of tangential stuff) Everyone (yes even feminists and social justice bloggers here) agree that looking into mental illness should be an aspect of the Rogers investigation. But when we are trying to have a discussion about rape/misogynist culture aspects of the tragedy and people are constantly popping up and calling Rogers crazy. It’s very “othering”, when there are plenty of people without mental illness that say the same things as Rogers. Mentally ill people are more likely to be the victims of violence than perpetrators. Misogynist culture is a big problem even without a murderer like Rogers. Even giving every person perfect mental health care will not eliminate the poisonous culture that leads to violence. These are just a few of the reasons why people are trying to emphasize the misogyny over the mental illness issue get upset. It is not all about just greed for power or influence.

    There are people that take it too far under feminism and there are people who take it too far because of misogyny. They become blind to their original goals and do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. But the consequences make it very clear which is the more poisonous ideology. Is your solution to just stop advocating, to stop forming groups? Of course not. And you do make some good points, just keep in mind that these issues with advocacy groups do not mean the cause is bad, or invalidate everything the group does. At most you make only narrow criticisms and do not undermine the underlying issues.

    Your Ukraine airliner analogy is interesting. If anything, #yesallwomen is more like a politician using the tragedy to finally get something done about a dangerous regime they have been trying to warn people about for years. No, he isn’t happy that the people died, but if it ends up raising awareness, he can appreciate that silver lining.

  49. says

    I don’t know. Did the 9/11 suicide bombers kill because they really believed they were doing God’s work or because they were mentally ill in a manner similar to Roger, or how could we even weight the two factors? While I think we can say there is something wrong within the brains of those who consciously kill innocent people, there doesn’t seem to be a clear dividing line between faulty brain and faulty cultural influence. Would Roger have killed if he had happened to hook up with a consenting girl? Would he just have found another issue to channel his hatred? What if culture wasn’t so sex centered, where the perceived value of a male is if, and how often, their penis is inserted in a female, would Roger have gotten to the point where murder/suicide was preferable to living? How much should we try to defuse things that lead to anger and hatred and at what cost? Again, I don’t know. What I can sympathize with is how the mere existence of Roger and his stated motivations is very scary to women. To bring back the 9/11 corollary, we invaded two nations over the similar fear of radical Islam. I don’t see feminists calling for a violent response to Roger’s misogyny or really anything else that is unreasonable. Sure, feminists are pushing the story of his misogyny as one of the major factors, using it to highlight other issues important to the cause of gender equality. I’m not sure that equates to them saying that mental issues aren’t part or even most of the cause.

  50. says

    I watched as Matt was similarly attacked on twitter just weeks ago by certain activists who went on to twist and misrepresent what Matt was saying until it was a parody of what he was arguing. And it was my impression it had nothing to do with what Matt’s point was but rather that he dared to challenge them at all. Certainly they did not engage Matt’s argument.

    Link? I remember Matt was getting defensive that some feminists were expressing some exacerbation about the atheist organizations/leadership right after the news that the most powerful “atheist” organization Secular Coalition for America fired the director after catching some embezzlement. I challenged him on this and he said we should be crediting them for something, though he couldn’t say what they did that deserved credit, which sort of undermines his “argument”.

  51. Thinking says

    I don’t see feminists calling for a violent response to Roger’s misogyny or really anything else that is unreasonable. Sure, feminists are pushing the story of his misogyny as one of the major factors, using it to highlight other issues important to the cause of gender equality. I’m not sure that equates to them saying that mental issues aren’t part or even most of the cause.

    I don’t think anyone is claiming that feminists are using Rodger’s actions to call for violence. I think people are objecting to the use of Rodger’s actions and/or beliefs to support claims about an idea they do not necessarily accept. Namely, that widespread cultural misogyny exists. It is unreasonable to do so in the view of those who do not accept the premise.

    Let’s put it another way. I think Rodger’s manifesto demonstrated a strong sense of outright misanthropy as well, but would it be reasonable to suggest his actions are an example of widespread cultural misanthropy? I’d wager most would consider that to be preposterous. The the idea of widespread cultural misanthropy seems rather nonsensical on its face. I think most folks would reject the claims of those who make a serious attempt to use Rodger’s beliefs/actions to push such a hypothesis, and would respond that trying to draw conclusions about society from Rodger’s irrational worldview might not be the most reasonable thing to do.

    Similarly, using Rodger’s beliefs/actions to try and bolster claims of widespread cultural misogyny doesn’t make much sense unless one already believes that such a thing exists.

  52. greg hockingwood says

    being fully rational and skeptical is an ideal. so it’s no surprise that people usually do not live up to being rational or skeptical all the time

  53. AhmNee says

    That’s an interesting bit of historical revision. Matt was responding to argument put forth that the “atheist movement is such a joke”.
     

    hahahaha the atheist movement is such a joke— Sarah Rules (@Mowgli3) June 6, 2014

    @Mowgli3 Thanks for the grossly unfair generalization.— Matt Dillahunty (@Matt_Dillahunty) June 6, 2014

     
    I saw your exchange with Matt that day and you did seem to have misunderstood what was actually being discussed.
     

    @Matt_Dillahunty @SurlyAmy And people on twitter can't complain about the incompetent management at the orgs that represent us? C'mon Matt!— changerofbits (@changerofbits)

     
    That wasn’t even close to what Matt was saying in response to the original post. In fact, he said so.
     

    @changerofbits Reading comprehension seems to be a problem. Complain about a problem at an org? Fine. PLEASE do. Paint movement as a joke?no— Matt Dillahunty (@Matt_Dillahunty) June 7, 2014

     
    Matt was arguing that painting an entire movement as a joke because of the actions of an organization was grossly unfair. You seemed to take offense as if he was trying to defend the organization. That wasn’t the case at all.
     
    What was less clear is if the issue that was being taken was because of the embezzlement or for the firing of Edwina Rogers. It appeared that Matt was saying that the firing was doing something. It looked to me that some people were actually viewing the firing of Rodgers (a female in a leadership role) was the actual issue. That was a simple case of people not being clear and talking past each other. Which isn’t surprising when you have a limited number of chars to reply to each other. None of that, however, invalidated Matt’s initial point.
     

    @SurlyAmy Not saying the issue doesn't look bad, but they're taking the right actions and generalizing from that issue with bad args=bad— Matt Dillahunty (@Matt_Dillahunty) June 6, 2014

     
    Which I read as getting rid of the embezzlers was the right first step. So, now that we’re entirely off topic.

  54. adamah says

    AmnNee said-

    Rad was claiming what is legally insane, according to the law, was “not knowing right from wrong”. And that’s not entirely accurate. What she is describing as legally insane is a subset of what is valid for an insanity defense.

    Oh, I see what you’re saying.

    Sure, not knowing right from wrong is only one prong of the ‘M’Naughten test’ (used in CA), which only needs one of two prongs to be met for a defendant to be found ‘not guilty, by reason of insanity’.

    The other prong is if the person doesn’t realize their actions are causing injury or death, such that ‘right or wrong’ doesn’t even enter into their mind (eg if the person is hallucinating they’re back in ‘Nam clearing bamboo with a machete, when they’re actually slashing people to death).

    However, that prong likely wouldn’t apply to Elliott, either, since his self-incriminating videos would undermine that defense (that is, if he had not committed suicide).

    Regardless, it was fun watching Cristina act like she’s a State prosecutor arguing against his insanity plea, serving in the role of a DA, a psych doc, AND a jury to prove her “this was caused by misogyny, only” claim.

    As amusing as it was, all of her legal mumbo-jumbo and unfettered speculation was irrelevant, since no one would reasonably claim Elliott wasn’t mentally-ill (as if killing six people doesn’t offer compelling evidence of THAT). She straw-manned Jacyln, since despite a slip of the tongue, her argument was based on Elliott being mentally-ill, only, and NOT legally insane.

    Fact is, we’re facing a crisis of overpopulation in our State prison system in CA, such that the CDC was ordered last year by a Fed Judge to release prisoners due to “cruel and inhumane conditions”; it’s beyond crisis.

    Judges and DAs who send criminals to prison are are fully-aware of the problem, and aren’t exactly looking to ensure that the mentally-ill who actually are criminally-insane end up in a nice State prison hospital where they’ll get the (costly, taxpayer-funded) care they need.

    To alleviate the pressure, I’d suspect DA’s offer plea agreements to criminals who otherwise might meet the legal standard of insanity by offering a reduced sentence for agreeing not to do so, since the accused can then be housed with the general prison population (which ALSO houses a disproportionately high % of mentally-ill, BTW, who often have failed when attempting an insanity defense. Jeffrey Dahmer tried an insanity defense, but lost).

    So it’s more about warehousing prisoners than rehabilitation or treating them. And the problem is nationwide:

    http://m.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/04/record-numbers-mentally-ill-prisons-and-jails

    So Cristina’s whole ‘insane’ vs ‘mentally-ill’ was a HUGE irrelevancy, and struck me as a cheap attempt to capitalize on her fellow non-lawyer vlogger’s sloppy usage of legal terms, as if trying to score easy points although it was mind-numblingly naive and insensitive of the plight of the mentally-ill in our society.

    The point I was making there and here is a distinction beyond what is a valid insanity defense in the eyes of the law to what is actually considered insane.

    Thanks for clarifying, but now I’m really confused, lol.

    I’ve gotta ask you again, since the part in bold above raises the same question in my mind:

    You DO understand that ‘insanity’ is NOT a medical diagnosis, but is a legal term?

    Granted, psych docs will offer their expert opinion in court on whether the person is ‘insane ‘(based on their clinical evaluation and diagnosis), but ultimately insanity is a LEGAL determination made by a JURY after deliberating; this is required to determine whether the accused should be punished for their crime (vs treated in a state mental hospital).

    What ‘actually is considered insane’ (in your words, above) is when a judge/jury DECLARES the defendent to be ‘legally-insane’.

    It’s a legal ruling, nor a medical determination (although the ruling is partially-based on medical findings).

    And aside from popular usage of the word (which can refer to anything from guitar players who are insanely-fast, to mattress salesmen who offer “prices so low, we must be insane!”), there are no other types of ‘insane’.

    Adam

  55. adamah says

    Thinking said-

    Similarly, using Rodger’s beliefs/actions to try and bolster claims of widespread cultural misogyny doesn’t make much sense unless one already believes that such a thing exists.

    Whoa, just had a déjà vu moment here, with you describing a scenario where someone is told they have to believe something BEFORE it begins to make any sense to them?

    I can’t quite put my finger on where I’ve heard THAT line before!!

    :)

    Adam

  56. AhmNee says

    You’re right. I kinda muddied my argument there by not being more careful with my wording.

    In Rad’s video she tried to make it sound like the only valid forms of mental illness were ones that would be recognized by the court. As you point out, what she was actually talking about was the criteria by which a valid insanity defense is decided. What I really should have said was that she either was unclear that other mental illnesses exist that aren’t valid legal defenses (IE antisocial disorder) or was using terribly sloppy language.

    “Cristina rightly pointed out the distinction between ‘mentally-ill’ and ‘insane’ “ Having reread this section, you were being clearer than I initially gave credit. I’m not sure that I agree that Cristina was so much pointing out the difference, but rather trying to say because a court wouldn’t find Elliot ‘legally insane’ he couldn’t have been mentally ill in any meaningful way. In my haste to take issue with her premise, I blurred together what you and she were saying.

    My critique that what you were saying wasn’t entirely true itself wasn’t entirely true. :D

  57. AhmNee says

    I was also thinking there was a difference between what is legally insane and criminally insane. I see there is not.

  58. adamah says

    Bryan said-

    I guess I did say that wrong, you were not calling for everyone to tolerate hate speech, but just for the government. But why did you bring up the government in the first place?

    As I explained above, sometimes it’s helpful to break a log-jam in a discussion to get beyond points of dispute by temporarily conceding the point.

    In this case, I let the other side ‘win’ by temporarily assuming that cultural misogyny was the SOLE explanation for why Elliott killed.

    I then asked feminists what exactly they wanted the rest of us to actually DO to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence, eg pass new laws with stiffer punishment for femicide? Curtail free speech?

    What are they suggesting we DO?

    Point being, even of the poit is conceded, there has to be a goal, aside from whining about how unfair the status quo is.

    This is a discussion about blogs and youtube. You jump around and make so many arguments, that what actually pertains to the issues raised by Martin get lost or forgotten by the time anyone finishes reading your posts.

    Well, it’s certainly a good thing people can read my posts at their own pace, and even re-read them, if needed, until they understand? ;)

    (Snarky response aside, I won’t interpret that as tone trolling, since I’m pretty ambitious when presenting thoughts, and am aware sometimes I fail to present thoughts in an easy-to-digest manner. I’m working on it, though!)

    And this is an example of what makes social justice people upset. Someone coming in and making all their pet arguments when we are trying to have a specific discussion. (You bring up murder statistics and all kinds of tangential stuff)

    Huh…. Odd.

    So you’re a-ok with Cristina playing the role of lawyer/psychiatrist/jury on YT so she can engage in mindless speculation on the killers motives, but you’ve got a problem with me posting actual stats on femicide in the US? Wow!

    You seem to have very skewed values, from where I’m sitting. Most rationalists actually like to use facts to inform their beliefs and actions.

    Everyone (yes even feminists and social justice bloggers here) agree that looking into mental illness should be an aspect of the Rogers investigation.

    Well, you may not been paying attention, then?

    That’s the ENTIRE POINT which Jaclyn made in her video that set off the shit-storm and inspired Cristina to make her video, and for PZ to post his tweet, both claiming that “misogyny alone” led him to kill.

    Jaclyn’s not alone: if you read the National Review article I posted, there are many others who are also bothered by looking for easy answers (AKA scapegoating), as if offering easy mindless answers to complex problems is a solution.

    But when we are trying to have a discussion about rape/misogynist culture aspects of the tragedy and people are constantly popping up and calling Rogers crazy. It’s very “othering”, when there are plenty of people without mental illness that say the same things as Rogers.

    Sorry, I don’t know what you’re trying to imply with the “othering” thing. Too new-fangled of a word for me. Can you rephrase?

    Mentally ill people are more likely to be the victims of violence than perpetrators.

    True, but wasn’t it you who just griped about my mentioning stats? Most people at least wait to start a new post before being hypocritical.

    ;)

    In this case, though, it was the mentally-ill Elliott who did the killing, so it’s irrelevant to mention the fact you did (and it doesn’t play a role in the argument either Cristina or Jaclyn were making).

    Misogynist culture is a big problem even without a murderer like Rogers.

    Interesting.

    Even overlooking your unsupported premise (that misogyny is a “big problem”: prove it!), is that some kind of an admission that you realize that although the facts of the Rogers killing doesn’t quite fit the cause, we should just go along with the cause, anyway?

    Hmmm, that sure looks like it’s leading up to an “ends justify the means” defense, used to excuse the sloppy use of logic that got us here.

    Is that some kind of an excuse for arguing for a desired conclusion, despite the evidence not actually supporting the conclusion?

    And why would anyone use the SB tragedy as an example of ‘societal misogyny’ once they realized the actual facts don’t support that conclusion? That’s intellectually-dishonest, in any rational persons book.

    Even giving every person perfect mental health care will not eliminate the poisonous culture that leads to violence. These are just a few of the reasons why people are trying to emphasize the misogyny over the mental illness issue get upset. It is not all about just greed for power or influence.

    Another News-flash for ya': forcing every male to become a woman’s studies major won’t ‘eliminate the poisonous culture that leads to violence’.

    There are people that take it too far under feminism and there are people who take it too far because of misogyny. They become blind to their original goals and do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. But the consequences make it very clear which is the more poisonous ideology. Is your solution to just stop advocating, to stop forming groups? Of course not. And you do make some good points, just keep in mind that these issues with advocacy groups do not mean the cause is bad, or invalidate everything the group does. At most you make only narrow criticisms and do not undermine the underlying issues.

    Cool, so point out exactly where I suggested jumping to those extreme conclusions, as you implied I did.

    Hint: don’t waste your time looking, since I didn’t, and you cannot show where I did. You’re putting words into my mouth (AKA creating a strawman, so you can topple it) by suggesting I undermined the cause of feminism.

    You’re showing some of the hallmarks of theist thinking, where criticizing God is taken as a personal attack. Really?

    Watch the following video, and mentally replace ‘God’ with ‘feminist organization':

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-j8ZMMuu7MU

    See some similarities?

    And if you’re jumping to the hasty conclusion that questioning the MOTIVES of an organization is the same as questioning the underlying CAUSE the organization purportedly claims to represent, then you may need to clean up your thinking. Rational thinking is far from inherent or in-born: it requires active work.

    So thanks for the advice, but here’s a bit in return:

    Extremist feminists also shouldn’t through other feminists under the bus, as was done to Jaclyn.

    The fundamental problem with groups like A+ is that regardless of what the ‘plus’ actually stands for, it’s inherently going to be decisive factor to the cause of atheism, which should remain a SINGLE-POSITION statement about one’s lack of belief in God.

    Any other cause added to that, be it secular humanism, feminism, animal rights, crocheting, promotion of the Hunger Games movies, etc is by definition going to be a devisive force in atheism.

    What evidence is there of that, you ask?

    Uh, how about the topic of THIS VERY THREAD, Lol!

    Anytime you pile more theology (or ideology) onto a single belief, you risk creating divisions: it happened to Xianity, which is why there’s now 10k (and growing) denominations of it.

    Atheists are already a tiny minority in a World filled with believers, and fractionation which encourages in-fighting is not doing anything to help the cause of atheism.

    That’s something anyone who’s taken a sociology 101 course should know….

    Your Ukraine airliner analogy is interesting. If anything, #yesallwomen is more like a politician using the tragedy to finally get something done about a dangerous regime they have been trying to warn people about for years. No, he isn’t happy that the people died, but if it ends up raising awareness, he can appreciate that silver lining.

    Need I point out the critical distinction that all indications are the regime appears to be the CAUSE of the tragedy?

    The dots appear to be connected: we have satellite images showing Russia supplying the Ukranian separatists with the SA-11 missile platform (amongst other weapons systems), trained them to use it, we have satellite imagery of a missile being fired in the region where the plane was downed, the missile crew took credit on social media minutes after downing what they thought was a military cargo aircraft (then pulled down their posts minutes after it was discovered to have been a civilian jetliner), etc.

    Although it’s circumstantial evidence, them dots are connected, and beyond a reasonable doubt (and evidence of attempts to cover-up provide additional incriminating evidence).

    And since Cristina or anyone else hasn’t sufficiently ‘connected the dots’ between cultural misogyny and Elliott’s murder spree, I’m calling a foul for ‘improper analogy’ (AKA a false equivalency). While BO has evidence to even gloat (“see, told ya’ so that Putin is a bully”) he can do so AFTER evidence is provided. NOT before.

    So allow me to suggest perhaps a more fitting example of the Bush staffer who famously and cynically said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste” (whether the crisis fits ones’ agenda or not, used to justify the invasion of Iraq after 9/11, despite the administration knowing fully-well the dots weren’t connected, but it offered a plausible excuse to separate Saddam and his massive oil reserves).

    Is that more like what some feminists had in mind, dismissed in the name of “raising awareness”?

    Adam

  59. adamah says

    AhmNee, thanks for the clarification.

    After shooting down the insanity defense she built,Cristina seemed to jump to the other opposite extreme conclusion: clearly unwarranted.

    Why?

    As we often tell theists, even if you somehow manage to challenge abiogenesis/evolution (and NOT just a strawman version of it), you still cannot conclude that “God Dun It!”.

    You don’t win by default by relying on the old, “Therefore, God!”, AKA hastily jumping to a unwarranted conclusion.

    As we all should remember, separate claims require supportive evidence OF THEIR OWN; when dealing with non-binary (multi-factorial) conditions, there’s no winning by eliminating a single alternative (and Cristina improperly created a false-dilemma, and fooled herself into thinking she won by eliminating mental illness as the cause).

    Of course, it’s damned easy to see when others rely on flawed logic, but it’s damned-near impossible to apply it to one’s own cherished beliefs, or when committed by someone we perceive as being on “our team”.

    That’s exactly WHY I disagreed with Jaclyn’s whole “we’re on the same team” thinking; it encourages people to let down their guard, and allows them to turn off their rationalism. It’s one factor (amongst many) that partly explains why otherwise-sane people commit atrocities, as pointed out by Zimbardo’s study.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

    “The very claims we should be most critical of are those we most want to accept and/or protect!”

    DEAR READER, THIS MEANS YOU, whether you’re an atheist or believer, militant feminist or misogynist!

    AhmNee said-

    My critique that what you were saying wasn’t entirely true itself wasn’t entirely true. :D

    Well, being the entire discussion of what legal defense Elliott may have used is HIGHLY speculative (see angels on a pin reference above), and being Cristina was clearly talking over her head (or out of ones’ backside orifice, depending on how magnanimous one wants to be), I didn’t feel the need to mention it: you’d likely agree my posts are long enough, as it stands!

    I was also trying to cut her SOME slack (AKA selecting one’s points). I didn’t want to do what she did to Jacyln, capitalizing on a trivial error she made that encourages others to lose sight of ‘the forest for the trees’.

    I actually considered mentioning it, but quickly dismissed the idea since it likely wouldn’t have applied to Elliott’s mental state (AFAIK, there’s no evidence suggesting he experienced hallucinations or other breaks from reality, which is what the first prong requires. Instead, he clearly was delusional and the ability to discern was the relevant (if ultimately ‘irrelevant’) question.

    So even bringing it up comes dangerously close to throwing out flak (ie quibbling) and derailing the discussion with a very-trivial technicality.

    And while the 2nd prong of an insanity plea is clearly important to understand for a law student taking a course in basic principles of criminal defense, it’s irrelevant to the discussion at hand, and seems like ax-grinding to call out Cristina for failing to mention it.

    Mentioning the discernment between right and wrong is one of the few points she got right, but as I said, was itself irrelevant, since the entire insanity defense discussion was a red herring.

    PS there’s a subtle distinction between the phrases, legally- and criminally-insane: sometimes a person can be declared legally-insane to be committed to a mental hospital against their will where they haven’t committed any crime and show no evidence of presenting a threat of physical harm to themselves or others; not so for someone who’s already committed a crime and is seeking to use their mental status as a legal defense.

    Adam

  60. adamah says

    COB said-

    Sure, feminists are pushing the story of his misogyny as one of the major factors, using it to highlight other issues important to the cause of gender equality. I’m not sure that equates to them saying that mental issues aren’t part or even most of the cause.

    (COB, I’m rearranging your post and bringing the last part up to the top, since your comment above is coming up a lot recently.)

    If you watch Cristina’s video, it exactly IS her stance that misogyny is the PRIMARY CAUSE of why Elliott killed others.

    She was responding to Jaclyn’s video which set off a shit-storm by pointing out that MANY OTHER FACTORS were at play, the most obvious factor being his severe mental illness.

    And sure, NOW they’re more likely to take a more-reasonable position by furiously back-peddling months after the emotional knee-jerk reaction has subsided. But that hardly was the initial reaction, and all but the most blatant Stalin-style historical revisions would suffice to be able to deny it.

    I don’t know. Did the 9/11 suicide bombers kill because they really believed they were doing God’s work or because they were mentally ill in a manner similar to Roger, or how could we even weight the two factors?

    That’s a good question.

    If someone is willing to kill or die for their beliefs, I’d say they REALLY need to recheck those beliefs. It applies to dying or killing for God, or killing women AND/OR men for ANY REASON.

    And yes, that includes our military members (I’m a vet, a ‘mustang’ who served as both enlisted and officer, and as such I’ve given it much more thought than most people). It’s culturally-acceptable to kill foreign combatants in war and to give one’s life in service to one’s country, and we even create special honorifics for those who do.

    Many people can’t wrap their heads around the fact that some concepts (such as ‘mental illness’) are defined by (and based upon) consensus opinion, where the hegemony of the majority and/or most-influential members of society defines those values and norms.

    A good example comes from the world of color vision: a small minority of the population perceives colors quite differently from the majority, experiencing what us so-called “color vision normals” (trichromats) refer to as “color vision defects” (dichromacy). THEY are labelled as defective, NOT US, since we’re the majority.

    But if not for a fluke of evolution, and if their ancestors left more progeny than ours, the tables would be turned and THEY’D be the largest group: eg all the traffic light signals in the World would be designed by one of them for THEIR vision, since they’d be the “normal” ones.

    (And yes, we’ve since redesigned traffic signals to accommodate their needs, as well. We won’t be redesigning cockpit control panels anytime soon, and our military continues to discriminate against those pilot applicants who cannot pass color vision tests, due to the prohibitive cost of retrofitting aircraft to accommodate their needs: it’s cheaper just to discriminate in the name of uniformity and mission-readiness.)

    While I think we can say there is something wrong within the brains of those who consciously kill innocent people, there doesn’t seem to be a clear dividing line between faulty brain and faulty cultural influence.

    Because there’s NOT, and that fact scares the hell out of some people who watch a video of a serial-killer like Ted Bundy and see someone who’s not so different on the surface from anyone they know (serial killers like Richard Ramirez are more-comforting, since most people can tell there’s something not-quite right with the guy, just by looking at his photo).

    As my color vision example shows, the problem is the rules of society are based on the needs and thinking of the majority, without giving any regard for the effect those policies have on the most-susceptible members of society.

    It’s easier to demonize Elliott, but that’s primarily to make the majority deny THEIR responsibility for others.

    Would Roger have killed if he had happened to hook up with a consenting girl? Would he just have found another issue to channel his hatred? What if culture wasn’t so sex centered, where the perceived value of a male is if, and how often, their penis is inserted in a female, would Roger have gotten to the point where murder/suicide was preferable to living?

    And what if the individual specifically seeks out extremist sub-cultural ideologies (like PUA forums, or worse, the ‘PUA anger’ forum that was filled with the social rejects for whom PUA didn’t work)?

    Should those sub-cultural groups ‘count’ against societal misogyny, or is it only the generalized depictions of male/females as seen in MSM outlets that matter (eg the Seth Rogan films, etc)?

    Consumers go to see what they like: does the average movie-goer bear some of the blame here?

    Good luck convincing anyone of that: people are motivated by “what’s in it for me?” thinking, just as long as it doesn’t effect them or theirs. We see that in gun rights activists, who demand their right to easy access to weapons and typically fight vehemently against all attempts at regulation.

    Most people are fundamentally selfish, and cannot see beyond their own needs. That’s why it’s easier to blame others, and demonizing Elliott or anyone like Jaclyn who DARES to challenge the BS offered by others is a threat.

    There’s a whole lotta personal narcissism on display here, from Elliott to many others….

    How much should we try to defuse things that lead to anger and hatred and at what cost? Again, I don’t know.

    If the UK’s Daily News can be trusted as a respectable news source (!), here’s a story of Elliott’s interaction with a girl that seemingly set him off at an early age:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2639555/Meet-model-named-Santa-Barbara-killer-reason-saw-women-mean-cruel-heartless-creatures.html

    Granted, he may have had a biochemical tendency to over-react to the same stimulus as another person, but perhaps feminists should look at the behavior of their fellow women, and accept some responsibility for their role?

    Maybe we should force young women (like the blonde model he had a crush on) to have sex with a guy, whether they want to or not?

    Obviously not: THAT’S outrageous.

    The point remains: as usual, people want to have their cake and to eat it, too, with woman free to pursue their happiness (and not be forced to date men they find repulsive! Ewww, he’s icky!), but then act surprised when the loser acts out and kills.

    What I can sympathize with is how the mere existence of Roger and his stated motivations is very scary to women. To bring back the 9/11 corollary, we invaded two nations over the similar fear of radical Islam.

    Exactly.

    Perhaps some feminists are thinking like the WH staffer who made the famous cynical statement, “Never let a good crisis go to waste” (ie to use one incident as the pretense to further some other unrelated agenda item, such as ‘liberating’ Iraq’s massive oil reserves out from underneath Saddam by falsely linking it to 9/11).

    Where they go awry is capitalizing on that fear, using it as an opportunity to spread their loose command of facts. That’s simply WRONG.

    People don’t need to be lied to or misled, or told only what they want to hear to tickle their ears.

    Isn’t that why we protest religious beliefs? What’s the difference?

    Different ideology, but same old schtick.

    I don’t see feminists calling for a violent response to Roger’s misogyny or really anything else that is unreasonable.

    Huh? Like who would they direct violence against?

    It sounds more like excusiology, which you can do. However, if you want to float an explanation for WHY we should allow anyone to be granted “special pleading”, I’m all ears.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts: you bring up some tough issues which people should be asking themselves, rather than simply creating scapegoats that are easy to sacrifice, yes, but do nothing to address the problem but only artificially alleviate anxiety.

    Adam

  61. Monocle Smile says

    someone is told they have to believe something BEFORE it begins to make any sense to them?

    The difference is that cultural misogyny very obviously exists.

    Using Elliott Rodger to call attention to it is merely an exceptionally poor way to go about raising awareness.

    Also, in response to this:

    I then asked feminists what exactly they wanted the rest of us to actually DO to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence, eg pass new laws with stiffer punishment for femicide? Curtail free speech?

    What are they suggesting we DO?

    It’s more of a big-picture thing, IMO. Parents need to raise their children without the prejudices of past generations, which has constantly been a challenge. Towns can’t allow travesties like Steubenville to go unpunished; those responsible for fucking up need to be pressured by the public.

    Furthermore, although you might see it as an extreme fringe…the idea that Rodger was provoked into killing people and the women who wouldn’t sleep with him have blood on their hands is more pervasive than I’m comfortable with. It shouldn’t even be part of the discussion.

  62. Monocle Smile says

    The point remains: as usual, people want to have their cake and to eat it, too, with woman free to pursue their happiness (and not be forced to date men they find repulsive! Ewww, he’s icky!), but then act surprised when the loser acts out and kills.

    That’s really fucked up, Adam. I was rejected for over 200 jobs before I landed my current gig. Would it be surprising for me to start gunning down hiring managers? ABSOLUTELY. Even if I was rejected for bullshit and/or unfair reasons? ABSOLUTELY, STILL. That is not a normal response. Adversity is part of life. What you describe isn’t “having your cake and eat it too.” It’s what should be standard practice.

  63. Thinking says

    Monocle Smile said –

    The difference is that cultural misogyny very obviously exists.

    Using Elliott Rodger to call attention to it is merely an exceptionally poor way to go about raising awareness.

    I’m afraid that’s just not the way it works. You can’t simply assert this is true, you have to demonstrate it. That something might be obvious you, is not evidence.

    If it were, we likely wouldn’t be having this discussion on the blog for an atheist TV show.

  64. says

    First, I’ll second Monocle’s comments on the “cake and eat it too”. It’s a basic human right that we’ve (relatively recently) afforded women that they get to choose their sexual partners and to not die in return for that right. As far as being surprised, they should be unless they think that men are subhuman (which by my definition, would mean that they aren’t feminists, no true Scotsman aside).

    Huh? Like who would they direct violence against?

    Forced castration would probably go a long way to solving male sexual violence against women (and men!).

    It sounds more like excusiology, which you can do. However, if you want to float an explanation for WHY we should allow anyone to be granted “special pleading”, I’m all ears.

    You seem to be focusing on how the feminists are overreacting to Roger’s clearly stated misogyny and I’m just trying to understand why you think that it is over the top. They have a rational motive to be scared of Roger and the misogyny he espoused and yet the response is simply to draw light to that. I just don’t see feminists calling for anything more extreme than public education on the problem.

  65. Monocle Smile says

    Challenge accepted.

    http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2011/the-invisibility-of-misogyny/

    http://newyorksociologist.org/11/Berberick2011.pdf

    http://www.thefreeradical.ca/research/introToMisogynyInPopCultureSept2010.pdf

    This is a decent start. I picked links that cite specific examples. Took me about five minutes. Of course, the problem is twofold…there are people who are generally unaware of the presence of misogyny, and then there are people who are aware of these influences, but don’t attribute them to cultural misogyny.

    If it were, we likely wouldn’t be having this discussion on the blog for an atheist TV show.

    Are you joking? Do you really think being an atheist somehow makes you rational or impervious to ignorance or cognitive dissonance? I mean, I would say that atheism is likely the ONLY thing I have in common with Ayn Rand followers. Atheism doesn’t make you smarter.

    Unlike Adam, I’m perfectly fine with having divides in the atheist movement.

  66. says

    I’m afraid that’s just not the way it works. You can’t simply assert this is true, you have to demonstrate it. That something might be obvious you, is not evidence.

    If it were, we likely wouldn’t be having this discussion on the blog for an atheist TV show.

    You’re seriously questioning whether cultural misogyny exists? Seriously? Even Paul Elam (google him if you don’t know who he is, I’m not going to link) doesn’t question this, he just thinks women are largely responsible, because somehow victims actually commit the crimes using men as puppets, or something.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence_against_women
    https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=cultural+violence+against+women
    https://rainn.org/

  67. adamah says

    Monocle Smile said-

    The difference is that cultural misogyny very obviously exists.

    Really? And what evidence can you present to support the claim that “widespread cultural misogyny exists in America in 2014″ (NOT in Saudi Arabia or Africa, but even specifically in CA, since that’s where the killings occurred)?

    Seriously, I’m all ears.

    Is it the fact that 4/5 victims of homocide in America are male?

    That statistic from the Justice Dept would seemingly indicate the existence of widespread cultural ANDROGYNY, if anything, which must be MORE INVISIBLE (latent), if it actually exists?

    Oh, perhaps the widespread popularity (with young women, no less) of the likes of Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton (both famous for WHAT again exactly?). Certainly there’s evidence of widespread cultural misogyny, right?

    Oh, maybe not. They’re both rich and famous, and not exactly being discriminated against.

    Help me out?

    (Edit: I see you posted a few links just a few minutes ago, and I’ll take a look….)

    Using Elliott Rodger to call attention to it is merely an exceptionally poor way to go about raising awareness.

    Agreed. And you sound like you’re also agreeing with Jaclyn, then?

    So do you have the gonads (neutral, since I don’t know if you’re a male or female) to say it publicly, on this forum?

    After all, that WAS one of the points she made which got her ridiculed and dismissed by so many in the A+ community for daring to disagree with their consensus opinion.

    Of course, misogyny isn’t just the domain of male members of the species: females are often the worst perpetrators of the same attitude by harboring, fostering, and acting as reservoirs for misogynist tendencies and propagating their malignant biases to their daughters and sons (who note how they treat other women, and not what they say).

    And remind me once again why I shouldn’t see the harsh treatment delivered to Jaclyn as evidence of exactly that same kind of hypocrisy, criticizing misogyny while doling it out in spades?

    Which leads to this:

    It’s more of a big-picture thing, IMO. Parents need to raise their children without the prejudices of past generations, which has constantly been a challenge. Towns can’t allow travesties like Steubenville to go unpunished; those responsible for fucking up need to be pressured by the public.

    BTW, ‘IMO’ is unnecessary and redundant, since no kidding, who else’s opinion would you be offering but yours? Unless you attribute it to another (eg “In Dr Medved’s opinion, you should….”), it’s pretty obvious who’s opinion if is. Just sayin’.

    ;)

    Anyway, wouldn’t it be nice if more people had the self-awareness to be able to recognize which of their beliefs were true, and which were only predjudices?

    See the huge fly in the ointment with your advice?

    Furthermore, although you might see it as an extreme fringe…the idea that Rodger was provoked into killing people and the women who wouldn’t sleep with him have blood on their hands is more pervasive than I’m comfortable with. It shouldn’t even be part of the discussion.

    I’m not sure what you’re suggesting here, as that’s rather ambiguous:

    Are you saying his fellow members of the PUA echo-chamber forum share some of the ethical responsibility for what he did, or are you denying the concept of shared responsibility, since ultimately it boils down to each individual being responsible for their actions?

    Either way, you run into problems: on the former, we enjoy free speech rights, and short of a “conspiracy to commit” charge applied to this case, current laws reflect the idea that each person has the right to say whatever they like, and each person has to decide for themselves what they actually will do.

    The latter creates an issue for those making the claim that ‘widespread cultural misogyny exists’, since although they can educate and raise awareness of what may or may not exist in America (alot like religion in that regard, no?), it still boils down to personal choice.

    And part of persuading people to make the choice we’d prefer they do is by not engaging in foolish arguments and flawed tactical strategies, and worse, by alienating those most likely to help the cause.

    Part of me feels that even if such fractious factors weren’t at play, isn’t this simply, “preaching to the choir”?

    In other words, are these advocates willing to join sites like ‘ PUA Anger’ to reach out to the Elliotts of the World, ie those irrational bigoted types who are actually most ‘at-risk’ for acting out their thoughts?

    Or is this simply about flapping jaws?

    FWIW, I’m extremely uncomfortable with the idea of declaring certain THOUGHTS (note the emphasis) as inherently ‘dangerous’ or ‘toxic’, since:

    1) outright prohibition of ideas is quite-often ineffective, and in some individuals, forbidding certain ideas paradoxically make the idea more desirable, and,

    2) it’s incredibly difficult to enforce. Short of Jesus’ concept of ‘thought crimes’ (eg, ‘whomever looks at a woman with lust….’) it’s still impossible to know what someone thinks; we still lack ‘Thought Police’.

    No easy answers on offer here? Sorry, but I prefer to live in a World of reality, not fantasy.

    Adam

  68. adamah says

    COB said:

    You’re seriously questioning whether cultural misogyny exists?

    Move goalposts much?

    The original claim was that “WIDESPREAD cultural misogyny exists”, with Elliott’s killing being offered as supportive evidence of it; no one claims that it doesn’t exist at all.

    Adam

  69. says

    Move goalposts much?

    My bad, I honestly missed the qualifier “WIDESPREAD” somehow (I need to read more closely).

    The original claim was that “WIDESPREAD cultural misogyny exists”, with Elliott’s killing being offered as supportive evidence of it; no one claims that it doesn’t exist at all.

    Well, “WIDESPREAD” seems like a fairly subjective descriptor; it could apply to “a minority that is still way too much” to “everyone does it”. What term would you use to describe the amount of cultural misogyny?

  70. aj says

    Adamh No you’ve got it completely wrong. The only issue here is feminism and misogyny. If you don’t agree with that then you’re equally to blame and need to attend re-orientation classes.

  71. Thinking says

    Monocle Smile said –

    http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2011/the-invisibility-of-misogyny/

    This is a mess of assertions, I’m afraid. It is rather too much to discretely address, so I’ll just touch on a few points otherwise the rebuttal will be as long as the article itself:
    1. It refers to media reports on Mel Gibson, Jared Loughner, and Charlie Sheen as examples of media complicity in cultural misogyny. The criticism is basically that the media didn’t do enough to focus on Gibson’s sexist commentary, Sheen’s treatment of women in the past(with a poke that he was bragging about his troubled past), and that Loughner was motivated by misogynist views.

    Of course, the criticism of Gibson and Sheen amounts to little more than a disagreement by the author on what the media should have found substantive, and isn’t really evidence of anything. Loughner’s case is basically the same situation as Rodger. Namely, a mentally ill person holds an irrational worldview.

    2. It refers to issues outside the United States, namely India, some estimates about the death of women for being women, and international sex trafficking.

    India’s culture is not Western culture, or United States culture, so any cultural misogyny one might identify in India cannot be reasonably be applied to the West generally or the United States specifically. Similarly, the supposed estimates are within the context of the whole world, so the same rebuttal applies as for that of the example of India. Also, the studies are not referenced unless it’s referring to the broken link in note #3 at the bottom of the article. Unfortunately, absent citation some estimates is simply too vague to accept. I don’t know anything about how these estimates have been calculated.

    Comments regarding sex trafficking are, again, within the context of the whole world so not a distinct critique of Western, or specifically United States culture. That’s not to say Western nations or the United States do not experience sex trafficking, of course. However, it is explicitly criminal and prosecuted in the West, so it’s mere existence is not evidence of cultural misogyny in the West.

    It doesn’t really get much more substantive than that. It basically amounts to the author pointing out some issues, suggesting that the cause is cultural misogyny, then asserting that the suggestion is true. Moreover, it conspicuously omits any mention of how society might treat men within the context of many of these issues. It seems that if one were to be objectively considering an idea like cultural misogyny, one would need to compare it to an idea of cultural misandry so as to ensure that the real problem wasn’t, in fact, cultural misanthropy. If the real problem is that social norms and practices place little to no value on our fellow human, but one only looks at the impact on women, then it may well look like cultural misogyny.

    Ultimately, I find it utterly unconvincing save that I tend to agree with its criticism of Western liberals and their biases when it comes to multiculturalism. The experiences of Ayaan Hirsi Ali with Brandeis University leads me in that direction.

    Monocle Smile said –

    http://newyorksociologist.org/11/Berberick2011.pdf

    In response to this, I will have to defer to this:
    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/05/harry-collins-inquiring-minds-science-studies-saves-scientific-expertise

    Not to say that I accept the paper. Rather, that I cannot realistically judge the paper. As Collins suggests, reading an academic paper may allow someone to absorb a lot of information, but it will not tell the reader how seriously the paper is taken by the scientific community. Whether you or I find it convincing is not really substantive to whether or not what it claims to be true actually is. Insofar as neither of us possess the interactional expertise Collins refers to, of course. I do not.

    Monocle Smile said –

    http://www.thefreeradical.ca/research/introToMisogynyInPopCultureSept2010.pdf

    Unfortunately, this is little more than a exceptionally superficial examination of bad examples from pop culture. It covers TV, movies, video games, music, and pornography, each broad enough to warrant their own distinct and substantive study, in all of 30 pages. Moreover, it does not explore if the premise(cultural misogyny exists) is actually true, it assumes it and proceeds to find the examples that make the case. In other words, one can reasonably suggest that it engages in cherry picking of examples that support the assertion.

    Monocle Smile said –

    This is a decent start. I picked links that cite specific examples. Took me about five minutes. Of course, the problem is twofold…there are people who are generally unaware of the presence of misogyny, and then there are people who are aware of these influences, but don’t attribute them to cultural misogyny.

    How long it took you to find the evidence for your claim is immaterial. That it took you five minutes to find your examples is five minutes longer than I should be expected to spend when the burden of proof is on you.

    Of course, as I see it the problem is singular. You are asserting that cultural misogyny exists, therefore those who disagree with your assertion are either ignorant(they don’t see it) or wrong(they disagree as to the cause of the issues you identify). You still haven’t demonstrated your assertion, so your assessment of those who disagree is irrelevant.

    Monocle Smile said –

    Are you joking? Do you really think being an atheist somehow makes you rational or impervious to ignorance or cognitive dissonance? I mean, I would say that atheism is likely the ONLY thing I have in common with Ayn Rand followers. Atheism doesn’t make you smarter.

    The point of the statement was to make an allusion to theists who claim that their beliefs are correct because it’s just obvious that they are. Moreover, that they will provide what they deem evidence that only makes sense if one already believes in the premise. Looks like Adam got it.

  72. adamah says

    aj said-

    Adamh No you’ve got it completely wrong. The only issue here is feminism and misogyny. If you don’t agree with that then you’re equally to blame and need to attend re-orientation classes.

    Suweet: this dude can abide with going to re-orientation camp (is that anything like summer camp, ie should I pack a pair of Speedos that I haven’t worn in decades, but I’m pretty sure the beer gut won’t effect how AWESOME I look in them)!

    :)

    So after reading in the link MS provided about the blatant misogyny in rap (as if it’s evidence of widespread cultural misogyny, and that’s actually the best evidence I saw), I started to wonder what kind of music Elliot listened to (and his being a rap fan seemed kind of unlikely, given his, I dunno: obvious racism)?

    There’s some pretty bad news here, folks, so better sit yourself down: based on Elliot’s musical tastes, it seems we’re going to have to put the kabash, NOT on the obnoxiously misogynistic rappers, but on pop singers like Taylor Swift, and pop artists from the 80’s like Phil Collins, The Police, Steve Perry, Whitney Houston, and Katrina and the Wave, since they’re ALL guilty of creating too-high expectations for what love is all about!

    http://www.esquire.com/_mobile/blogs/news/indie-rock-rodger

    So there it is: concrete PROOF that Elliot Rodgers killed because of ‘cultural misogyny’, which is soooo obvious that if you don’t agree with me you’re apparently just toooo stupid to see what’s right in front of your freakin’ FACE! (flashing back to Jaclyn wearing a blonde wig and frantically waving her hands…)

    Oh, PS: we’ll also need to require schools to immediately remove classics like ‘Romeo and Juliet’ from their required reading lists, too, since the story ends in murder/suicide and creates unrealistically-high expectations of what male/female relationships are all about!

    Adam

  73. says

    That’s an interesting bit of historical revision.

    I find your lack of links, disturbing… /vader

    And your cherry picking of tweets that support your narrative. /me

    Here’s the gory tweet that started it all, anyone interested can go read:

    https://twitter.com/Mowgli3/status/475038160347750400

    Which included this link:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/07/us/on-eve-of-big-event-atheist-group-fires-top-official.html?_r=2

    Matt was responding to argument put forth that the “atheist movement is such a joke”

    Let’s set the context:

    Do you know what the Secular Coalition for America does? It’s the umbrella organization for many of the leading “atheist” organizations that they’ve entrusted to lobby the government on their behalf. Here are the orgs:

    Member Organizations

    American Atheists
    American Ethical Union
    American Humanist Association
    Atheist Alliance of America
    Camp Quest
    Council for Secular Humanism
    Freethought Society
    Freedom From Religion Foundation
    Humanist Community at Harvard
    HUUmanists
    Institute for Humanist Studies
    Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers
    Recovering From Religion
    Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science US
    Secular Student Alliance
    Society for Humanistic Judaism

    So, yea, the atheist organization that represents a most atheist organizations to government has serious leadership issues. I’m not sure there could have been a better time to generalize about the atheist movement.

    Here’s a link to Matt and I discussing a bit further:

    https://twitter.com/changerofbits/status/475063521504272384

    Basically, Matt’s point is that we shouldn’t use above linked embarrassing episode (which Sarah directly linked to in her tweet) to paint all atheist orgs. I agree, your/Matt’s narrow point conceded. But I’m willing to take Sarah and other women at their word that there are serious issues that pervade the atheist movement/organizations, at least to the point that I’m skeptical that they’re being ran competently, transparently and fairly. I’ll just leave this here for those looking for a bit of interesting followup reading:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2014/06/guest-post-by-salty-current-a-real-transparency-problem/

  74. adamah says

    I checked out the first link MS posted, and am thoroughly unimpressed, eg Mel Gibson’s racist rants were the source of his public embarrassment and shaming, due to the widespread public outcry against him (you must’ve missed the late-night talk shows, which had a field day with him, and do so, to this day?). The guy had a public melt-down, and damaged his own career.

    So that’s hardly evidence of ‘widespread cultural misogyny’, but rather widespread SUPPORT against misogyny, with the general public speaking out against such bigoted thinking.

    Gibson made a buffoon of himself, and that’s hardly tolerance of bigotry (whether racism or misogyny).

    A similar episode happened recently with Donald Sterling’s racist comments being made public: everyone from the NBA commissioner to players expressed their DISAPPROVAL of his bigotry, so yet another old fool with more $$ than common sense.

    The rest of the article resorted to the same old tired claims about killing of female babies in China, honor killing of women in Islamic cultures, killing of brides in Pakistan, etc which all are inadmissible: I asked for evidence in America, not China or Africa.

    (Which raises the not-insignificant issue of cultural relativism: Nigerian women feel unloved if their husband DOESN’T hit them in the face, since they think he’s seeing another woman, and get upset over NOT being beaten!)

    The article claimed the media was ignoring the misogyny by not mentioning it, but it’s a double-edged sword: mentioning it as a factor seems likely to actually ENCOURAGE bigots to engage in it.

    As with trolls who seek attention, the best case outcome is if people ignore and shun those who engage in such hateful speech.

    COB said-

    Well, “WIDESPREAD” seems like a fairly subjective descriptor; it could apply to “a minority that is still way too much” to “everyone does it”.

    I agree, it is subjective, but “widespread” implies a level of pervasiveness of the attitude that is held by the majority of the population.

    Maybe it’s just me, but after being told I’m perpetuating misogyny, I’m feeling a bit like I do after being told by a Xian I’m a dirty worthless sinner in need of salvation.

    Says who, but you!?

    What term would you use to describe the amount of cultural misogyny?

    All I can do is compare the situation in America to the rest of the World, where American women enjoy far-more respect and opportunities for success in business and their personal lives.

    Surely no one would doubt the many tales of women who’ve left their native countries behind to seek opportunities unavailable in their homelands.

    But that’s not a study; and while that’s purely anecdotal (and likely a part of the National narrative), I’m sure some sociologists have studied the issue and compared attitudes and treatment of women in different countries Worldwide? My gut says N. European women may be slightly higher in the ratings than women in the US, but I’d be surprised if the US scored lower than most.

    Anyone aware of such a study?

    Adam

  75. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @adamah:

    Mel Gibson’s racist rants were the source of his public embarrassment and shaming, due to the widespread public outcry against him
    […]
    Donald Sterling’s racist comments being made public: everyone from the NBA commissioner to players expressed their DISAPPROVAL

    that’s […] widespread SUPPORT against misogyny, with the general public speaking out against such bigoted thinking.

    Equivocation.
     

    The article claimed the media was ignoring the misogyny by not mentioning it, but it’s a double-edged sword: mentioning it as a factor seems likely to actually ENCOURAGE bigots to engage in it.

    See: racism.
     

    Maybe it’s just me, but after being told I’m perpetuating misogyny, I’m feeling a bit like I do after being told by a Xian I’m a dirty worthless sinner in need of salvation.

    Says who, but you!?

    Article: RationalWiki – Creep Shaming
     
     

    cultural relativism: Nigerian women feel unloved if their husband DOESN’T hit them in the face, since they think he’s seeing another woman, and get upset over NOT being beaten!

     
     

    @Monocle Smile:

    IMO. Parents need to raise their children without the prejudices of past generations, which has constantly been a challenge. Towns can’t allow travesties like Steubenville to go unpunished; those responsible for fucking up need to be pressured by the public.

    BTW, ‘IMO’ is unnecessary and redundant
    […]
    Just sayin’. ;)
    […]
    FWIW
    […]
    I prefer to live in a World of reality, not fantasy.
     
    Adam

     
     

    @Monocle Smile:
    The rest of the [first] article resorted to the same old tired claims about killing of female babies in China, honor killing of women in Islamic cultures, killing of brides in Pakistan, etc which all are inadmissible: I asked for evidence in America, not China or Africa.
     
    @changerofbits:

    What term would you use to describe the amount of cultural misogyny?

    All I can do is compare the situation in America to the rest of the World, where American women enjoy far-more respect and opportunities for success in business and their personal lives.
    […]
    I’m sure some sociologists have studied the issue and compared attitudes and treatment of women in different countries Worldwide?

     
     

    isn’t this simply, “preaching to the choir”?
     
    In other words, are these advocates willing to […] reach out to the Elliotts of the World, ie those irrational bigoted types who are actually most ‘at-risk’ for acting out their thoughts?
     
    Or is this simply about flapping jaws?

    False dichotomy.
     

    current laws reflect the idea that each person has the right to say whatever they like
    […]
    FWIW, I’m extremely uncomfortable with the idea of declaring certain THOUGHTS (note the emphasis) as inherently ‘dangerous’ or ‘toxic’

    the best case outcome is if people ignore and shun those who engage in such hateful speech.

    Your concern is noted.
     
    Article: RationalWiki – Concern Troll

  76. says

    Maybe it’s just me, but after being told I’m perpetuating misogyny, I’m feeling a bit like I do after being told by a Xian I’m a dirty worthless sinner in need of salvation.

    Well, we know women and misogyny exist, so I’m not sure why you get the same feeling. Look, we’re all subject to the culture we’re within, so I think its likely you’ve perpetuated misogyny without being aware of it. I have to, so has probably every person (yes, all women included) in our culture to some extent. What I’d recommend is listening a bit more, especially if someone points out something you say/write is perpetuating misogyny. I’m not saying that person is right or that you should take it personally and adjust your behavior, just try to listen as well as you write. You express yourself well in this medium and, this is just my opinion, you’re wasting your time and talent being concerned about what feminists are saying.

  77. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    “Label the critic insane”
    Dishonest strawmen! Dishonest strawmen everyone!

  78. AhmNee says

    So, does Carrier call these people insane as a means to call their argument into question? Or does he call them insane and then use a reasoned position to refute their argument? The article you linked isn’t clear. Because I’m okay with the latter. He can make all the ad hominem attacks he wants as long as he doesn’t make an ad hominem argument.

  79. says

    You mean it’s an impossibility. We should expect people to be irrational and unskeptical all the while, it is fundamental to the human condition. There might be fully rational and skeptical arguments, never people.

  80. adamah says

    COB said-

    Well, we know women and misogyny exist, so I’m not sure why you get the same feeling…

    Wow: you’ve never heard of ‘begging the question’? You’re simply repeating the very assertion that’s being questioned and discussed.

    So at the risk of being pedantically-tedious, let’s all unpack this situation, one step at a time, using MS words above:

    Monocle Smile said-

    The difference is that cultural misogyny very obviously exists.

    Here’s a series of claims that one could make, arranged in order of increasing difficulty to prove (the list is NOT comprehensive, since I’m skipping a few intermediates):

    1) Evidence of cultural misogyny is found within some cultures of the World.

    2) Evidence of cultural misogyny is found within American SUB-CULTURE (eg hate groups).

    3) Evidence of cultural misogyny is found within American POPULAR culture.

    4) Evidence of WIDESPREAD cultural misogyny is found throughout American popular culture.

    5) Evidence of widespread cultural misogyny is found throughout American popular culture, AND it played a contributory role as a factor in Elliott Rogers killing spree.

    • Evidence of widespread cultural misogyny is found throughout American popular culture, and it was the SOLE factor in Elliott Rogers killing spree, as the CAUSE.

    Some members of the atheist + camp seemingly were attempting to defend that last position, an extreme claim which the available evidence simply doesn’t support.

    Jaclyn tried to point out the over-reach, and got crucified for daring to question the group which had simply got it wrong (likely falling victim to organizational ‘group-think’, with all the foot-soldiers playing ‘follow the de-facto influential thought-leader’ within the group, whomever they might be).

    That last position is the meaning implied in the glib two-word phrase, “misogyny kills”, a contrite questionable slogan which attempts to fallaciously ‘connect the dots’, allowing unquestioning listeners to accept it’s questionable overly-broad generalization (AKA a stereotype). It’s deception of the worst kind, being so insidious; it’s the equivalent of the brain-dead slogans parroted by Xians (eg “Jesus HEARTS you!”) that we mercilessly ridicule them for saying.

    Such contrite slogans ARE toxic to rational thinkers, as they’re an attempt to slip one over the listener, bypassing any critical analysis to earn a position as a cherished belief.

    Now, anyone want to special plead to make a case why feminists should be allowed an exception to the rules of rationalism?

    (I’m counting down, just waiting for a permutation of a teleological “ends justify the means” attempt….)

    As Martin points out, NO dogmas should exist that are above questioning, and anyone who perpetuates such slogans should rightly be banished from the rationalist community until they serve penitence and see the error of their ways.

    Now, does THAT clear things up?

    On, on this:

    Furthermore, although you might see it as an extreme fringe…the idea that Rodger was provoked into killing people and the women who wouldn’t sleep with him have blood on their hands is more pervasive than I’m comfortable with. It shouldn’t even be part of the discussion.

    Sorry, I misread that earlier, and I now see what you were saying.

    Yeah, it’s closely-related to blaming the victim, but I obviously wasn’t taking it that far.

    Instead, I was raising the issue of what sense of collective responsibility women feel they share for other women, so as to reel in the behaviors of a small minority of women who mistreat men.

    Certainly you’re not denying the existence of self-centered cruel young women in American society who seemingly find some sadistic pleasure in breaking men’s hearts, esp if they perceive the male in question is a loser who’s below them, and they’re offended that he doesn’t realize she’s a total package and she’s “out of his league”?

    Many such women will want to ‘punish’ the male for assaulting their ego, for by daring to think they actually stood a chance.

    What is THEIR responsibility in all of this?

    Granted, Elliot was a rampant narcissist who felt entitled to love, but as the Esquire article pointed out, that IS the widespread and pervasive theme offered in pop culture and pop music (“it takes two, baby”, “all you need is love”, etc. Hey, maybe the JWs were onto something about the Beatles after all, wanting to burn their records?)

    :)

    Hence the point that it’s not cultural misogyny that’s the ONLY important factor, as much the unrealistic expectations that some people will create of love, in a culture where even if one manages to “live the dream” and finds their “everlasting love”, the divorce rate of 50% might indicate it’s largely a fantasy for most.

    Granted, it’s a fantasy upon which our evolutionary success as a species relied!

    So, is this glorification of successful and happy coupling worth fighting against (if it even COULD!), or are events such as the Elliot killing spree simply ‘the cost of doing business’ for encouraging reproductive success and facilitating happiness?

    And since evidence indicates women are more-likely to be killed by a loved one, then perhaps we might create a more-honest (but still deceptive, statistically-speaking) slogan, “LOVE kills!”?

    Good luck toppling love, driven by a strong biochemical impulses, esp in cultures where women LUV their fantasies of finding their PERFECT man (where many women own a DVD of Moulin Rouge, etc).

    Adam

  81. adamah says

    And to tag onto Thinking’s points-

    Of course, the criticism of Gibson and Sheen amounts to little more than a disagreement by the author on what the media should have found substantive, and isn’t really evidence of anything.

    The eyebrow-raiser for me was the article disclosed Sheen accidentally shot a GF: huh? Are we now blaming accidental shootings on misogyny, too?

    (And no, I didn’t care to waste even a minute to look into the actual incident in question, since it struck me as grasping at straws to even count it. Never-mind that Sheen is a malignant narcissist who’s ravaged his brain due to substance abuse, who’d otherwise be living on the street if not for familial show-biz connections that got him the success he had.)

    Loughner’s case is basically the same situation as Rodger. Namely, a mentally ill person holds an irrational worldview.

    That reminded me of the actual reason people shouldn’t exploit incidents ripped from the headlines;

    We’d all agree killing other human beings is the ultimate form of trolling, where the killer’s manifesto serves as his only outlet to deliver his message to the World.

    The reason we IGNORE their manifestos and its stated rationale for killing is to deny giving their message the attention they demand by pulling a murderous publicity stunt!

    Sorry, but the moment you kill someone, you’ve sacrificed your right to be taken seriously! It’s the ultimate ad hominem (literally), an act of destruction of others and to one’s self (esp if the killer commits suicide), not only on a physical level, but it also SHOULD be, in terms of sacrificing one’s credibility.

    Any other approach is actually more-harmful to society, since giving them the attention they seek (even if only after they’re dead) likely encourages OTHER mentally-unstable “copycats” to resort to such extreme behaviors to get their name in the news (eg Columbine: how many attempted re-plays have we seen of THAT?).

    So there’s yet another reason it’s despicable and morally-reprehensible short-sighted behavior to exploit such events for ones favored cause, ESPECIALLY when it doesn’t even logically ‘fit’!

    Instead, much like a forum troll, the better approach is for all participants to exercise self-control and simply IGNORE the behavior (at least, examining it so far as to prevent a repeat), and not to feed the troll.

    We shouldn’t let others push our buttons, since it simply empowers them and we lose control.

    I suspect that’s what Jaclyn was trying to say when she was talking about strategies for dealing with bullies, which AGAIN, is a MULTI-FACTORIAL problem and requires MULTIPLE STEPS to address on Ll fronts (when the tendency is for people often look for an easy answer, as if there’s a one-step solution to a complex problem).

    Adam

  82. adamah says

    Sky, as I’ve told you before, homey don’t engage in link battles. If you want to be taken seriously by me, you’re going to have to up your game and actually make the effort to form an actual argument (rather than state your conclusion).

    Adam

  83. Thinking says

    AhmNee says –

    So, does Carrier call these people insane as a means to call their argument into question? Or does he call them insane and then use a reasoned position to refute their argument? The article you linked isn’t clear. Because I’m okay with the latter. He can make all the ad hominem attacks he wants as long as he doesn’t make an ad hominem argument

    I think the problem with tolerating ad hominem attacks, even if they are used only as a petty snipe and not as a way to invalidate a given argument, is that they can prejudice a listener towards future arguments from the target.

    As much as we’d like to imagine ourselves to be perfectly rational, we’re not. On some level we pay lip service to the idea that someone can be wrong on one point, yet still right on another. That they might be wrong now, but be right later. An ad hominem is subversive to those ideas. Even when not used to try and fallaciously dismiss an argument, it can shape how we understand future information from the one targeted.

    As I was pointing out to Martin, the opinions we hold about people influence how we understand and interpret what they say. An ad hominem’s impact isn’t limited to the discrete argument in question, or a given debate/discourse. It’s more subversive than that. As it is a characterization of the target themselves, those who are aware of the characterization, and put stock in the accuser’s opinion, view the target differently for less than rational reasons. Indeed, it may well backfire with those who might distrust the accuser, and lead those listeners to view the target more positively than the target deserves.

    I think one has a responsibility to steer clear of ad hominem regardless of the context. Indeed, to steer clear of floating any unfounded opinion. Sure, we’re going to muck it up on occasion, but we should be wary of those who demonstrate a pattern of mucking it up, especially when they try to casually shrug it off or ignore it.

  84. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    , is that they can prejudice a listener towards future arguments from the target.

    Uhh, sometimes that’s a good thing. If someone actually is batshit crazy (or pretends to be batshit crazy), I don’t have to waste my time listening to them. Example: Anything Deepak Chopra says.

    I appreciate Carrier’s analysis of several of those people, how their arguments are wrong, and how their arguments are indicative of severe learning difficulties and cognitive biases. It means that I can safely ignore anything else those people write.

    The problem is my time is finite, and so I have to use inexact filters like this to get the good stuff from the bad.

  85. Thinking says

    EnlightenmentLiberal says –

    Uhh, sometimes that’s a good thing. If someone actually is batshit crazy (or pretends to be batshit crazy), I don’t have to waste my time listening to them. Example: Anything Deepak Chopra says.

    Which is why I specified that the problem is with unfounded opinions.

    If one has a legitimate critique of someone’s credibility, something they can back up with actual evidence, then I’ve got no problem with them explaining that position. If, however, all one has amounts to a gut feeling, then I think it’s best to keep that opinion to oneself.

    EnlightenmentLiberal says –

    I appreciate Carrier’s analysis of several of those people, how their arguments are wrong, and how their arguments are indicative of severe learning difficulties and cognitive biases. It means that I can safely ignore anything else those people write.

    To me, diagnoses of learning disabilities and mental health should probably come from someone trained in relevant fields. Looking over Carrier’s CV, his training and background are in History, not developmental psychology or other mental health related fields. As such, I wouldn’t personally put a whole lot of stock into his ability to diagnose someone, with whom he is having a disagreement, as possessing a learning disability or other mental health issue.

    EnlightenmentLiberal says –

    The problem is my time is finite, and so I have to use inexact filters like this to get the good stuff from the bad.

    This illustrates the power the influential have over others. Furthermore, it illustrates why those with influence have a certain responsibility to not casually throw around unsubstantiated opinions.

  86. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    it illustrates why those with influence have a certain responsibility to not casually throw around unsubstantiated opinions.

    I do not think Richard Carrier has done that.

  87. Thinking says

    EnlightenmentLiberal says –

    I do not think Richard Carrier has done that.

    Then we are likely at an impasse.

    As I pointed out, his CV makes no mention of training or background in any field particularly relevant to making a diagnoses of a severe learning disability yet that is precisely one of the critiques you say you find valuable from him so you can filter out those you shouldn’t waste your time on.

    If you don’t think characterizing someone as having a severe learning disability when one lacks any seeming credibility for making such a diagnoses is not casually throwing around an unsubstantiated opinion, I’m not sure what I could say that would convince you otherwise.

  88. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Richard Carrier never claimed a clinical diagnosis. IIRC, he is usually careful to say that it is not intended as a clinical diagnosis. Instead, Carrier identified several flaws in reasoning in the works of that person, and showed how those flaws are endemic. Which is enough for me to avoid that author. At this point, you’re quibbling over words.

    If I see someone claim the sky is red, repeatedly, I don’t need a medical license or training to identify that something is quite wrong with that person. I also don’t need medical training to safely conclude that I should not trust anything else that person says.

  89. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ok. The sky is sometimes red. How about some actual absurdity, like he talks to small rodents (and the rodents talk back).

  90. Thinking says

    EnlightenmentLiberal says –

    Richard Carrier never claimed a clinical diagnosis. IIRC, he is usually careful to say that it is not intended as a clinical diagnosis. Instead, Carrier identified several flaws in reasoning in the works of that person, and showed how those flaws are endemic. Which is enough for me to avoid that author. At this point, you’re quibbling over words

    If I see someone claim the sky is red, repeatedly, I don’t need a medical license or training to identify that something is quite wrong with that person. I also don’t need medical training to safely conclude that I should not trust anything else that person says.

    Ok. The sky is sometimes red. How about some actual absurdity, like he talks to small rodents (and the rodents talk back).

    * Emphasis mine
    It seems a little odd to me you emphasize that Carrier is usually careful to say he doesn’t intend it to mean a clinical diagnoses, then you use an example of absurdity that strongly implies mental illness. What exactly is it that you’re trying to defend?

    Remember, my comment was about the wisdom of tolerating ad hominems from anyone at any time in response to AhmNee’s suggestion that it might be OK to do so as long as they weren’t being used to fallaciously dismiss an argument. From there we were referring to examples that you gave.

    I’m not here to attack or defend Carrier. Rather, I’m stating that I think it unwise to tolerate statements that serve, intentionally or otherwise, to besmirch the character and/or credibility of someone else. That it is, in fact, our responsibility to be careful about what we say to as to avoid doing so unless we’re damn sure that we have good reason and/or solid evidence that our opinions are valid. Gut feelings, or opinions formed simply from the opinions of others, just don’t cut it. I don’t care who does it.

  91. adamah says

    EL Said-

    EL said-

    Richard Carrier never claimed a clinical diagnosis. IIRC, he is usually careful to say that it is not intended as a clinical diagnosis.

    I know the whole “my sons a doctor” thing is the likely source of confusion here, but does Carrier actually believe anyone in the audience might confuse his PhD for a medical degree, and think a historian is able to make psych diagnoses? AND not only that, but would violate doctor confidentiality and HIPAA laws by announcing his diagnoses to an audience from the podium? A licensed physician would be standing before his Medical Board, begging them not to suspend his license for violating many ethical principles.

    That’s an utterly absurd defense, EL; truly grasping at straws.

    As Thinking says, ad hominems are ALWAYS ‘fouls’ (regardless of whom you are), not because it’s insulting per se, but primarily because it’s committing the ‘fallacy of irrelevancy': it has nothing to do with the actual topic under debate.

    It also constitutes making a claim, where the person who delivers the insult (eg by calling their opponent ‘insane’) now has to prove it. Good luck with that, since it’s a legal term, implying a judge/jury ruled on it after considering the expert opinion of a psychiatrist. That’s truly arrogant, to make a determination that usually requires careful consideration.

    Ad hominems should be differentiated from the process of verifying the authority of an expert to provide an opinion on subject within their field of expertise. Only then is it fair game to focus on the qualifications of the opponent, and not on their arguments.

    Ironically the example EL cited above of Carrier calling others insane serves as a good example of where the opponent would not be committing an ad hominem by pointing out Carrier is a historian who seemingly feels qualified to dabble in psychiatry and law, and is thus practicing medicine and law without a license.

    BTW, even complimenting an opponent in a debate is ALSO considered an ‘ad hominem’ (Latin, comments directed ‘to the person’ instead of addressing the person’s arguments).

    You don’t see it used as much (and even rarer that someone gets called out for “killing their opponent with kindness” in a debate), but it can be an effective strategy by demonstrating what a nice guy you are, thus creating goodwill in the audience by scoring points for manners (which again, is a fallacy of irrelevance, since it shouldn’t matter how polite you are: you still can be wrong on the facts).

    Adam

  92. adamah says

    Thanks for the reply, COB. Now on to destroy it, as if further evidence of my personal misogyny!

    ;)

    COB said-

    Look, we’re all subject to the culture we’re within….

    Evidence, please?

    (The Adam moniker is a pseudonym: I’m not a Jewish male, if that’s what you’re incorrectly assuming.)

    Not to quibble, since MOST people are highly-susceptible to their culture, but you’re seemingly forgetting the sub-culture types?

    You’re speaking to someone who doesn’t give a flyin’ flip about cultural traditions and norms, primarily because I’m a hapa, a Heinz 57: I look too much like one minority for the other groups, and too much like the other minorities for the first; rinse and repeat. Hence I was apart from any, and distrustful of widespread media influences (not a big TV watcher since I don’t own one).

    And besides from enjoying cultural anthropology courses as books on the subject (I’d probably be in social sciences, if not for my past career as a physician), my being a hapa means I don’t have the handicapping ‘luxury’ of being able to identify with ANY group, and have had the benefit of being able to see the ‘us vs them’ nonsense of humanity for what it is.

    The fact Sky Capt seems to have missed is that bigotry is the broad category under which specific types (misogyny, racism, etc) fall under. So someone who fosters racist thoughts is also more likely to be a misogynist (eg Mel Gibson). That’s hardly a news flash.

    Bigotry is a SYMPTOM of someone’s flawed thought processes; conversely, someone who sees bigotry as a problem is less-likely to engage in racist or misogynistic thinking, since many studies have conclusively demonstrated proven they’re correlated.

    And yes, I’m accusing some unnamed atheist feminists of self-serving behavior for elevating THEIR personal cause above all others, demonstrating a loss of perspective on ‘their’ issue.

    It happens all too frequently, esp when first learning of a subject: there’s a fundamental tendency to see all issues through a filter of what we’ve recently been thinking of, eg I remember when I was first studying microbiology and started seeing Gram Stain patterns everywhere: in vinyl kitchen floors, paintings, etc.

    Was the connection valid, ie had the manufacturer of vinyl flooring actually been inspired by microbiology to create their patterns? Of course not: it’s human nature to project patterns into places they don’t exist, and it’s the responsibility of the individual to not make the mistake of believing there’s a connection.

    Another perhaps more fitting example:

    My sister-in-law is a JW, and regardless of whatever story is in the headlines, she’ll ALWAYS shoe-horn it as an excuse to launch into her pre-canned JW spiel about it being PROOF of how EVULLL Satan’s wicked ol’ system is, how we’re in the last days (which we’ve been in for past century, doncha know!) and how great it’ll be when Jehovah’s New System finally arrives, yada yada.

    EVERY story, from a mass murder to an improvement in air quality (due to tighter restrictions on air pollution, which one would think would tend to serve as DISCONFIRMATORY evidence, but not to her) is shoe-horned as proof to fit into her agenda.

    It’s impossible to break her delusion (she sometimes even drives her fellow JWs nuts by not giving it a rest!), since she refuses to engage in a rational discussion, based on available evidence. And since she’s committed to protecting her irrational paranoid delusion (in the name of protecting her faith), like so many others, she’ll likely die clinging to her delusional beliefs (or wake up only after it’s too late, after wasting an entire life on a delusion and knocking on doors to convert them to join the campaign).

    so I think its likely you’ve perpetuated misogyny without being aware of it.

    I think it’s likely you’re wrong, and you should become aware of the fact that telling other people what they are thinking is fundamentally insulting to them (think of Sye arrogantly telling Matt that he KNOWS God exists). I shouldn’t have to explain it to you, right?

    Again: where’s your evidence, please? PROVE IT!

    (Note: the weasel word ‘likely’ doesn’t provide any cover, since you’re implying I have committed the offense.)

    BTW, you’re ‘likely’ a dirty evil sinner in need of salvation: prove me wrong! Kinda insulting, right?

    What are these kinds of things called, again: “assumptions”? “Pre-conceptions” (AKA ‘unsubstantiated allegations’)?

    But to give you a chance to redeem yourself, where’s your evidence that I have perpetuated misogyny (feel free to cite any comment I’ve posted in this very thread)?

    BTW, here’s something I’ve also noticed in this thread: the conspicuous lack of the word ‘chauvinism’ in this entire discussion!

    I don’t know your age (you may be too young to remember this), but in the 60’s, ‘chauvinism’ was the buzzword in use by feminists of the day (where the popular meme was accusing someone of being a “male chauvinist pig”).

    Of course, accusing someone of ‘misogyny’ (hatred) is upping the ante vs saying they’re ‘chauvinists’ (biased against women) or ‘sexist’, and I’d suggest a word cloud comparison of usage of both terms then vs now might support the concept of radicalization of feminist movement having occurred in the interval (unless a weakening of the word ‘misogyny’ has simultaneously occurred: unlikely, when both Elliot Rogers and I are both accused of propagating and displaying misogyny).

    See the problem? Without a lack of intermediate steps, feminists are encouraged to “go nuclear” on anyone who disagrees with them, accusing them of propagating misogyny. That’s evidence of binary polarization, in my book, of jumping to extremist conclusions (which was a point Jaclyn made in her video, too).

    Ahhh, and I see what this is leading up to:

    What I’d recommend is listening a bit more, especially if someone points out something you say/write is perpetuating misogyny.

    Whoops, dere it is!

    For one, you’re in no position to MAKE recommendations, as if you possess that privilege as a reward after failing to support your claims (or watching them get disemboweled right before your eyes) gives you some “privilege”.

    Such strong sense of self-entitlement: isn’t that a trait displayed by Elliott? Allow me to guess that you also maybe a product of the “everyone’s a winner just for participating” generation, which places self-esteem above everything else, including learning the hard lessons of the existence of boundaries and the need to accept personal responsibility (not looking outside of oneself for someone to blame)?

    In fact, that’s exactly what this psychologist is suggesting may be an important factor in explaining Elliott’s killing spree:

    http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/06/10/the-psychology-of-elliot-rodger/

    BTW, the lack of consensus amongst even mental-health professionals reminds one of Tracie’s thread pointing out the inability of believers to agree on the attributes of God. Could the diverse opinions actually indicate that a single factor (or Godlike being) doesn’t actually exist, and the problem is MULTI-FACTORIAL? (Gasp!)

    Perhaps both the diverse opinions on Gods attributes and causes to explain the killing spree are like invisible Rohrsach Tests, revealing more about the thinking and values of the individuals?

    Back to the article, I’d suspect feminists who demand special concessions are another product of the same phenomena, another expression of the same type of sense of entitlement which Elliot displayed (it seems to explain the loss of intermediate steps, and the tendency to go nuclear on opponents).

    And there’s nothing that the self-entitled truly detest than encountering another individual who harbors the same viewpoint, but of a different flavor!

    To return to your comment above, in so many words, you seem to be politely “recommending” I SHUT UP AND LISTEN?

    Problem is (and I suspect this won’t fit into your personal myth to accept it), I’ve actually listened to EVERY LAST WORD you’ve said!

    The problem is, I’ve found much of it (not all, mind you) to lack relevance or carry much weight, since ultimately you’re attempting to defend an indefensible position: like my SIL, you likely won’t be able to admit that it’s flawed, and you’re being intellectually-dishonest with others (and most importantly, with yourself).

    However they may justify it in their own minds, some feminists seemingly feel entitled to resort to a weak-minded ‘special pleading’ by repeating the “shut up and listen” meme: hey, their cause is more important than anyone else’s! It’s theirs!

    Isn’t that the point of grilling Ron Lindsay, like a feminist version remake of the teen movie, ‘Mean Girls’?

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/2013/06/in-support-of-ron-lindsay-and-against-richard-carriers-disingenuous-attack/

    (Counting down the minutes before someone launches into a lecture that supports my assertion above about some feminists have seemingly experienced a loss of perspective, delivering a lecture complete with talking points about ‘male privilege’ and the hegemony of rampant paternalistic attitudes, etc….)

    I’m not saying that person is right or that you should take it personally and adjust your behavior, just try to listen as well as you write.

    Well, the part in bold is a mild disappointment (but not exactly unanticipated): I was hoping you’d possess the moral fiber to publicly state what’s readily apparent to anyone who’s actually looked into this issue.

    I take it you’re not a big fan of the “King’s New Clothes”, the story of a child who was willing to state the dreadfully obvious since he’d not yet been conditioned to cater to the power of groupthink?

    As the ‘Mean Girls’ movie suggests, it’s always tough to stand up against a clique.

    You express yourself well in this medium and, this is just my opinion, you’re wasting your time and talent being concerned about what feminists are saying.

    Once again, it’s quite unnecessary to say “IMO” (IMO, only, of course!), since unless you’re clairvoyant and channeling for some spirit being from the great beyond, who else’s opinion would you be offering, but your own?

    (Besides, it risks coming off as false humility: I’m reminded of Golda Meier’s words to a profusely-humble member of her staff whom she told, “Don’t be so humble: you’re not that great!”)

    On to your point:

    What you’re basically saying is, “Just ignore the man (or WOMEN, in this case) behind the curtain”, right?

    Is that a tacit admission of not having a leg left to stand on?

    Seems to me many need to reflect on the priorities of their beliefs, to establish a “pecking order”: what are you, first and foremost?

    Above all, are you a feminist? An atheist? A rationalist?

    Speaking only for myself (also an unnecessary phrase, IMO, unless I’m serving as a spokesperson), my #1 commitment is to RATIONALISM, and all other beliefs and ideologies take a backseat to that.

    The reason I’m an atheist directly results FROM my commitment to rationalism (as does my commitment to gender and racial equality, and fighting against social injustice).

    Per MY belief system, you don’t prevail unless they engage in a discussion of a topic using sound reasoned arguments. ALL ideologies are secondary, and none warrant special pleading, being given an exemption to following the rules of logic.

    Granted, others may lack the ability to recognize (and/or courage to admit) when their arguments have been soundly dismantled by others, but that’s their right: like my SIL, ultimately she’s going to bear the consequences of her decisions, good or bad.

    And as the old saying goes, “You can only lead the horsies to water, but you can’t force them to drink”. People have the fundamental right to make decisions of their own lives, and no one is exempt from whatever consequences that may result.

    So in that spirit, let me just say, “Here horsie, horsie!”

    Oh, PS that’s only my opinion, of course (offer may not be valid in your state; shipping and handling not included, other unnecessary disclaimers may needlessly apply; etc).

    ;)

    Adam

  93. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Thinking
    And you’re simply wrong. As I said before: I want to know if some author frequently employs supremely fallacious reasoning. I want to know that precisely to avoid that author. If you accept that, all that’s left after that is some pedantic word games which I do not care much about right now.

  94. adamah says

    Adam said:

    Namely, that widespread cultural misogyny exists. It is unreasonable to do so in the view […]

    COB said-

    I meant to close that previous comment with this link, which I think is a valuable read for personally grappling with these issues in the context of our culture:

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/04/17/the-four-levels-of-discrimination-and-you-and-me-too/

    Cool, but what does an article about widespread SEXISM (BIAS against women) have to do with my request for evidence proving widespread MISOGYNY (HATRED of women)?

    Again, you seem to be trying to prove my point above, as if you think these words are synonymous?

    Furthermore, I go back to the tendency of religions (and advocates of certain causes) to define a problem in a manner to make 100% of the population as potential ‘stakeholders’, whether it’s religion (“all humans are sinners”) or feminism (“all humans are sexist”).

    (I won’t even mention the extreme over-reaching claim implied by trying to pull a fast one to create a false equivalency, which would suggest you believe “all men are misogynists”.)

    Not only that, but it’s simply illogical to blur the lines:

    If we re-define a word (‘sexist’) to make it apply to all members of the species, it gains perhaps some benefits for those with an agenda, but it loses it’s utility to allow us discern any differences which exist within the population. If we say “all people are sexist”, you’ve basically created a functional equivalent for the word, ‘human’.

    A related problem with the concept is the lack of mention of any exclusions, eg you certainly wouldn’t claim a strong life-long feminist who played a leading role in the cause is ‘sexist’, and deserves to be lumped into the same category as Elliot Rodgers, who clearly was not only sexist, but homicidally-misogynistic, too?

    Words carry specific meanings, and careless usage leads to foggy thinking.

    Adam

  95. Thinking says

    EnlightenmentLiberal says –

    @Thinking
    And you’re simply wrong.

    No, you’re simply wrong. #Boom #LogicBomb #Checkmate #AreYouFreakingKiddingMe

    EnlightenmentLiberal says –

    As I said before: I want to know if some author frequently employs supremely fallacious reasoning. I want to know that precisely to avoid that author. If you accept that, all that’s left after that is some pedantic word games which I do not care much about right now.

    And if you had stopped there I imagine we wouldn’t be at this impasse as I agreed with you that substantive critiques of credibility, backed by actual evidence, are A-OK. Unfortunately you then decided to continue to try and defend your examples of what you say Carrier does.

  96. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Is your position that I am not qualified to call someone insane who says that they can fly under their own power by flapping their arms? Or someone who says that they are Napoleon? I think I’m quite well enough qualified to make that determination. Obviously this is not exactly comparable to what Richard Carrier has done, but it does demolition your absolute point that I can never make a justified assessment of insanity as a layperson.

  97. adamah says

    Hi COB,

    You clearly didn’t bother consulting a psych/med dictionary and/or you apparently don’t place any importance on etymological derivations (a practice still followed within the medical community)?

    Within the context of a discussion of a psychological condition, you’re apparently going to rely on Google for a definition based on popular-usage? Oh my Lord!

    If you’re not going to bother checking Stedmans or the like, you should at least look at the etymology:

    http://i.word.com/idictionary/misogyny


    Main Entry: mi·sog·y·ny
    Pronunciation: \mə-ˈsä-jə-nē\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Greek misogynia, from misein to hate + gynē woman — more at queen
    Date: circa 1656
    : a hatred of women
    — miso·gy·nic \ˌmi-sə-ˈji-nik, -ˈgī-\ adjective
    — mi·sog·y·nist \mə-ˈsä-jə-nist\ noun or adjective
    — mi·sog·y·nis·tic \mə-ˌsä-jə-ˈnis-tik\ adjective

    And if you prefer to verify the meaning of the prefix:

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Greek_and_Latin_roots_in_English

    mis- hate Greek. μῖσος (misos) misandry, misogyny

    The examples given verify that ‘misandry’ and ‘misogyny’ imply ‘hatred’ of either sex (or ‘misanthropy’, implying a hatred of all humans).

    You DO understand there’s a difference between the intense emotion of hatred, and merely being biased against something?

    You thus clearly missed my point above about the lack of differentiation afforded by not using weaker term (eg ‘chauvinism’, or even ‘sexist’, which doesn’t imply ‘hatred’, even taken to homicidal lengths, a stronger connotation implied by both misandry and misogyny). That’s exactly what I meant by noting the loss of intermediates and going “nuclear”.

    Sorry, but this isn’t George Orwell’s 1984, and some of us are aware of how totalitarians and extremists of all flavors (including religions) will try to pull a fast one by redefining words to further their agenda.

    (Which, now that I think about it, may explain why Cristina felt perfectly fine repeatedly dropping potty-mouthed f-bombs in her video, indicating her lack of emotional regulation and inability to control emotions.)

    Anyway, don’t blame me for your ignorance of Latin or Greek (or anything else, for that matter)…. I don’t ever apologize for knowing something others are ignorant of, esp if it’s a lay-person talking out of their arse on a subject they clearly know nothing about (you’re clearly far too loosey-goosey to get into med school, much less make it out, if only as a matter of protecting the general public from a fundamentally-flawed approach to rational decision-making that is associated with making medical mistakes).

    Oh, back to your previous post, since I missed a few eyebrow-raisers:

    First, I’ll second Monocle’s comments on the “cake and eat it too”. It’s a basic human right that we’ve (relatively recently) afforded women that they get to choose their sexual partners and to not die in return for that right.

    Wow, I’ll sometimes (well, quite often) use hyperbole for effect, but you seem to be serious? Not even a winkie emoticon?

    Perhaps you were a victim of the media who initially created dramatic (but false) headlines claiming Elliot killed women who had personally rejected him? Those were obviously in error, since the female victims apparently didn’t even know Elliot, and he didn’t know them.

    So once again, your statement isn’t supported by details of the case.

    (In fact, most are wondering if he’d ever TALKED to girls socially, such that they didn’t even get a chance to reject him. His family claimed he was diagnosed with Asperbergers, and was socially-withdrawn and shy around females.)

    Now if you were talking about the girl who was killed two months ago after turning down the guy who asked her to go to the prom with him, your comment above might have something to do with the price of tea in China. But In THIS thread (about Elliot), it’s a non-sequitorial observation.

    Forced castration would probably go a long way to solving male sexual violence against women (and men!).

    Well Lorena, since you’re clearly OK with lopping body parts off with kitchen knives as a solution to prevent recidivism by rapists, you’d likely enjoy the anxiety-relief of living in a country that respects Islamic Sharia law, where they cut off the hands of thieves, etc.

    But before you up and move to a Muslim country to bask in the thrill of joy of living under a totalitarian theocracy that promises security, I’d advise researching their views on women before doing so: they’re likely going to be a tadtoo misogynistic for your tastes?

    ;)

    You seem to be focusing on how the feminists are overreacting to Roger’s clearly-stated misogyny and I’m just trying to understand why you think that it is over the top.

    I’ve already explained my reasoning above throughout.

    Re-read, and I can re-explain what I wrote above, if you ask politely….

    They have a rational motive to be scared of Roger and the misogyny he espoused and yet the response is simply to draw light to that.

    Really?

    From all the evidence, the goal seems to be to EXPLOIT an irrational fear of men to further the feminist cause, just like religions also exploit people’s irrational fears and anxieties of the unknown. The presence of the threat is irrelevant (Elliot is dead, as is God), since the IRRATIONAL FEAR persists.

    Feminists are creating a massive straw man of ALL men, in the name of furthering their cause.

    I just don’t see feminists calling for anything more extreme than public education on the problem.

    Yeah, lemme guess: public education campaigns, which feminists no doubt want to teach?

    If you’re any example of a teacher, you might start by learning a smattering of the basic definitions used in the subject before you start trying to edumacate (sic) everyone else.

    Someone nailed it above when making a comment about attending feminist re-education camps, since if someone disclosed themselves as a feminist and told me the sky was blue at this point, I’d be doubly-skeptical, mistrustful of their ability to ascertain reality and a sense of perspective on ANY issue, due to an inability to not be a victim of their own emotions.

    I had no idea the dogmatism was as bad as this, found in groups claiming to be driven by rationalist principles. It’s got all the taint and trappings of religious beliefs…

    And as JWs are frequently told by people who’s doors they knock on to try and convert them, I say, “No thanks, I’m not interested: I have my own religion… Buh-bye!”

    (I’m obviously an atheist, so it’s a lil’ white lie, but some people will say anything to get dogmatic bores who cling to their delusional anxiolytic beliefs (by telling themselves they possess “The Truth!”) to move off their doorstep and on to some else’s.)

    Adam

  98. adamah says

    EL said-

    Is your position that I am not qualified to call someone insane who says that they can fly under their own power by flapping their arms? Or someone who says that they are Napoleon? I think I’m quite well enough qualified to make that determination.

    Interesting….

    And for how long have you held the delusion of thinking you’re ‘qualified’ to make legal determinations over strangers, based only on ad-hoc snap-judgment psych diagnosis you’ve rendered without examining the subject (much less getting a license to make such diagnoses)?

    And not only that, but how long have you experienced multiple personalities?

    ;)

    See, in the ‘real world’, there’s a system of ‘checks and balances’, where two different entities are involved in the decision to declare a person ‘insane’. Both the judge and physician have to be ‘qualified’ (licensed) by the State in order to declare another person to be ‘insane’.

    (Hopefully you don’t walk into a surgery suite, and feel qualified to practice surgery, or place people under arrest and deliver vigilante justice, too!)

    The Napoleon reference is ironic (Freudian slip?), since although it’s not an actual clinical diagnosis used within the field of psychiatry (mostly used by lay-people), megalomania is often associated with those accused of having a ‘Napoleon Complex’. That’s also a trait shared with those who feel qualified via possessing a strong sense of entitlement (eg Elliot R).

    Obviously this is not exactly comparable to what Richard Carrier has done….

    Whew! Well thanks for saving someone the effort of pointing out your HUGE over-reaching ‘false equivalency’ (which must be contagious, from the frequency in which it appears around here).

    but it does demolition your absolute point that I can never make a justified assessment of insanity as a layperson.

    Uh, would you care to explain?

    Exactly what variety of ‘logic’ do you subscribe to?

    It’s apparently a version where someone who offers what they themselves admit is a flawed (and hence, invalid) analogy can then claim to have “demolished” the opponent’s point?

    You also might want to review the general subject of fallacies, since unless you can ‘connect the dots’ better than that, your conclusion simply doesn’t follow….

    Granted, you have the right to walk away from someone you think may be insane, but unless you’re just looking for a civil suit defending yourself against a ‘defamation of character’ charge, you’d probably be wise to keep your psych diagnoses to yourself.

    (Lemme guess: you ALSO wouldn’t by any chance self-identity as a ‘feminist’, would you? Is this what passes for logic within the feminist community? WOW!!)

    Adam

  99. AhmNee says

    Adamah,

    As Thinking says, ad hominems are ALWAYS ‘fouls’ (regardless of whom you are), not because it’s insulting per se, but primarily because it’s committing the ‘fallacy of irrelevancy’: it has nothing to do with the actual topic under debate.

    I’d like to go all the way back to my post at the start of this subthread. If it’s an ad hominem attack or if it’s an ad hominem argument is an important distinction and one you seem to be overlooking here. If you tell me the sky is blue because of the blue cellophane surrounding the earth and I say that you’re an idiot and then explain how the light refracting on the atmosphere creates the color blue. My ad hominem attack may make me impolite or even an asshole but it does nothing to make my argument irrelevant.
     
    Ad hominem attacks are not ad hominem arguments. And only the latter applies in the context you’re giving. Thus the distinction I made in my post. That Carrier could call anyone he wished ‘insane’ (ad hominem attack) as long as he wasn’t using it as a way to dismiss their argument (ad hominem argument). So far as he properly counters their argument, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the ad hominem attack.

  100. AhmNee says

    Thinking,

    If one has a legitimate critique of someone’s credibility, something they can back up with actual evidence, then I’ve got no problem with them explaining that position. If, however, all one has amounts to a gut feeling, then I think it’s best to keep that opinion to oneself.

    Fuck that noise. You are not my, or anyone elses, mother/parent (unless you have kids, this doesn’t apply to them obviously). So you can save the “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” diatribe. People are allowed to express their opinions as long as they don’t conflate them into something they’re not.

    Furthermore, it illustrates why those with influence have a certain responsibility to not casually throw around unsubstantiated opinions.

    So, your opinion is that certain people aren’t allowed (have a responsibility not) to express their opinions. I feel like you’re influential, so you might want to keep that to yourself.

  101. AhmNee says

    Basically, Matt’s point is that we shouldn’t use above linked embarrassing episode (which Sarah directly linked to in her tweet) to paint all atheist orgs. I agree, your/Matt’s narrow point conceded.

    So, what are we arguing about then?

    But I’m willing to take Sarah and other women at their word that there are serious issues that pervade the atheist movement/organizations, at least to the point that I’m skeptical that they’re being ran competently, transparently and fairly.

    Oh! You’re arguing against a point that no one is making. Strawman much? No one said not to criticize an organization. In fact, it was recommended that the criticism be aimed at the organization (Complain about a problem at an org? Fine. PLEASE do. – Matt).

    I’m not sure there could have been a better time to generalize about the atheist movement.

    And yet it was still inappropriate to paint an entire movement for the actions of an org. No organization you listed or didn’t list is the atheist movement regardless of how you’d like to conflate them to be.
     
    (My lack of links was simply due to the fact that posts with more than one link get held for moderation here. I left the dates and who posted on so they could easily be found. My selection of posts was not intended as cherry-picking and since you have offered nothing to counter/change the context of the posts I used to illustrate my point, I will ignore your accusation of cherry-picking as bullshit hyperbole.)

  102. AhmNee says

    Let me go back for a moment.

    Basically, Matt’s point is that we shouldn’t use above linked embarrassing episode (which Sarah directly linked to in her tweet) to paint all atheist orgs.

    No. No, he didn’t. You replaced “the atheist movement” for “all atheist orgs”. They are not one in the same and you’re misrepresenting here.

  103. Thinking says

    AhmNee says –

    Fuck that noise. You are not my, or anyone elses, mother/parent (unless you have kids, this doesn’t apply to them obviously). So you can save the “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” diatribe. People are allowed to express their opinions as long as they don’t conflate them into something they’re not.

    So, your opinion is that certain people aren’t allowed (have a responsibility not) to express their opinions. I feel like you’re influential, so you might want to keep that to yourself.

    Wow. How you got that from what I said is simply beyond me.

    I explained why I think people ought to keep such things to themselves. You could respond to that explanation, and if you disagree, that’s cool.

    However, if you prefer to ignore my explanation for my position in favor of misconstruing what I said, and implying that I’m somehow demonstrating some sort of hypocrisy here, that’s certainly your business as well. Still, it seems a little ironic to give this kind of response considering the thrust of Martin’s blog post that we’re all commenting on. Maybe I’m just misunderstanding something, though.

    I think I explained my position well enough earlier. If you want to, as you say:
    AhmNee says –

    I’d like to go all the way back to my post at the start of this subthread.

    …then please do me the courtesy of replying to my response to that post rather than the conversation I was having with EnlightenmentLiberal.

    Unless, of course, you only wanted to go back to your post for the purposes of rebutting Adam’s conversation with EnlightenmentLiberal. I’m a little unclear on the matter.

    By all means, though, do as you like. I think I explained my position as well as I can, so if it’s still not convincing to you I don’t think there’s much else I could say that might convince you otherwise.

  104. adamah says

    AhmNee said-

    Ad hominem attacks are not ad hominem arguments. And only the latter applies in the context you’re giving. Thus the distinction I made in my post. That Carrier could call anyone he wished ‘insane’ (ad hominem attack) as long as he wasn’t using it as a way to dismiss their argument (ad hominem argument). So far as he properly counters their argument, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the ad hominem attack.

    Yeah, unless you learned your rules of debating while on the ‘Jerry Springer University’ debating team, that’s a whole lotta BS. You’ve seemingly lost the forest for the trees.

    Remember, the whole point of a debate is NOT to publicly trade INSULTS, but to ultimately find TRUTHS about the subject under discussion in a calm, emotion-free oppositional style. Emotional outbursts interfere with rationality (something of this very thread provides much copious evidence), and anyone who does starts hurling the potty-mouth expletives ends up shooting their own credibility in the foot (if the mod is asleep at the switch, and doesn’t call them on it).

    An insult is ALWAYS interpreted as a ‘simple ad hominem’, and automatically regarded as a claim that the person who said it then needs to prove (he bears the burden of proof).

    You can say the opponent’s argument is idiotic, WRONG or utter nonsense, and then explain why (ie support your conclusion); but saying your OPPONENT is insane or an idiot is a personal attack to them, likely hyperbolic, and hence its impossible to prove in a debate setting (as is calling someone an idiot, unless you’re able to offer their IQ tests or a copy of their psychiatric report, etc).

    And even if the insult is claimed as to be a premise, the conclusion is ALWAYS automatically implied: the audience shouldn’t listen to their argument (of course, no one would claim their opponent was insane and therefore you should ACCEPT their conclusion: THAT would be insane!).

    It’s an attempt to commit the genetic fallacy, and it’s ALWAYS out of bounds.

    And ultimately either way, the deliverer of the insult is also guilty of committing the ‘fallacy of irrelevancy’, since the comment is unrelated to the topic under discussion, and hence out-of-bounds.

    (Except as noted above about validating the opponents’ qualifications to offer an expert opinion on the subject, or questioning their ethical behavior: then it’s fair game to probe the personal details of opponent, but you’d better be DAMNED SURE you can support any accusation of unethical behavior, or you risk MAJOR egg on your face.)

    I know, I know: I’ve also seen the popular urban legend floating around the internet (and it’s even found right here on FTB, with some silly Labat-guzzling, ham-eating Canuck claiming he has the right to insult people during a debate). It’s Utterly foolish rules of debating that may apply in Canadian debates (a country known not exactly for debating, as much as hockey brawls). It doesn’t fly in the civilized World (Jerry Springer Show excepted).

    And if a debate devolves such that someone tries to play the card, “you incorrectly accused me of an ad hom argument, when it was actually an ad hom attack! I delivered by calling you insane”, thank your lucky stars: they’ve just delivered their own self-inflicted coup de grace, and you should immediately point out what I just did above to put them out of your misery and finish them off as an act of mercy.

    ;)

    Adam

  105. Jaco van says

    This is not a response to criticism, but a response/summary to this whole Jaclyn Glenn saga. This is why I appreciate Richard Carrier. He is thorough, and logical, and to the point. As to the insane comments, I’d have to investigate those further before I’d feel I can say anything intelligible about it. I can only say from what I’ve read of him, he is very careful with what he says and pedantic about backing up his claims with evidence always citing references.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/6048

    Take care

  106. AhmNee says

    I think the problem with tolerating ad hominem attacks, even if they are used only as a petty snipe and not as a way to invalidate a given argument, is that they can prejudice a listener towards future arguments from the target.

     
    So what? That’s your opinion and as such it’s subjective and unsupported by evidence. That’s what makes it an opinion and why you (responsibly, I might add) prefaced your comment with “I think”, identifying it as such. It’s also why I can counter your opinion with two words. I disagree.
     

    As I was pointing out to Martin, the opinions we hold about people influence how we understand and interpret what they say.

    I think one has a responsibility to steer clear of ad hominem regardless of the context. Indeed, to steer clear of floating any unfounded opinion.

     
    You’re equivocating here by blurring beliefs and opinions. And isn’t an opinion with a foundation actually a fact and no longer an opinion?
     
    As Adamah said …

    does Carrier actually believe anyone in the audience might confuse his PhD for a medical degree, and think a historian is able to make psych diagnoses?

     
    Anyone who would take Carrier’s insanity as literal has something wrong with their think box. Just like a writer has to take into account their audience, so does a speaker. And to that extent, I probably agree with you. Because your communication is futile if you’re not doing it in such a way that you’re understood. But the idea that you have to tailor everything one says and every opinion one expresses to take into account every outlier would be futile as well. A mental health professional may need to take some extra care to be clear if they’re calling someone insane but mean it colloquially. But in most cases you’d have to still be pretty obtuse to take it literally even then. How many mental health professionals would give a diagnosis as broad as “insane”?
     
    To get back to something I was touching on earlier …

    This illustrates the power the influential have over others. Furthermore, it illustrates why those with influence have a certain responsibility to not casually throw around unsubstantiated opinions.

     
    What’s your non-subjective criteria for who is or isn’t influential enough to foist this added responsibility onto?
     

    my comment was about the wisdom of tolerating ad hominems from anyone at any time in response to AhmNee’s suggestion that it might be OK to do so as long as they weren’t being used to fallaciously dismiss an argument.

     
    You’re conflating poor etiquette with a poor argument. Which loops right back to my original point. As long as Carrier doesn’t fallaciously use his critics “insanity” as his defense of his position. It’s irrelevant to the argument. To think otherwise, you’re in danger of making an ad hominem in reverse. IE “Carrier calls people insane. Therefore his argument must be fallacious.” Think him an ass if you want, or a poor communicator. That’s your opinion. If you dismiss his argument because you don’t like the way it’s being presented (similar to tone trolling) you’re the one actually committing the logical fallacy.
     
    Adamah:

    Yeah, unless you learned your rules of debating while on the ‘Jerry Springer University’ debating team, that’s a whole lotta BS. You’ve seemingly lost the forest for the trees.

     
    When did we shift this conversation to discussing debate? I don’t think I’m missing the forest for the trees as much as you’re now talking about spruce when we were talking about pine. I’m totally on board with the idea that ad hominem is a bad thing in debate lest a debate devolve into petty name-calling. But we started out talking about whether Carrier’s criticism of his own critics was fallacious or not. And my point was simple. As long as he wasn’t using his personal attack to counter their criticism. It doesn’t matter. You or I may not like the way he responds to his critics but if he makes a sound argument, it’s irrelevant to said argument.
     
    Getting into what makes for good/bad debate (which I still maintain is etiquette and not as important as the arguments given) is comparing apples to oranges.

  107. AhmNee says

    I went back looking for the AXP video where Jen and Matt essentially were making the same point as I have been here. And, much like the mistake I made with legally insane/criminally insane in another post on this thread. It appears I was misapplying my nomenclature here as well. An ad hominem attack and an ad hominem argument appear to be synonymous. And while I don’t think it would change our discussion as it appears everyone understood the distinction I was making. I wanted to make it clear that when I was saying “ad hominem attack”, I would have been more accurate in my language to say “personal attack”.

    AXP video I cited above:
    http://tinyurl.com/kxbe5ox

  108. adamah says

    AhmNee, the phrase ‘ad hominem’ is Latin, literally meaning any and all comments ‘directed to the PERSON’ (and not attacking their argument through use of reason).

    (Even if you don’t know Latin, it’s easy to figure the derivation out by looking at another familiar Latin word you already know: ‘HOMicide’, killing another PERSON.)

    For some reason, Jen wants to differentiate between name-calling (insulting) and ‘simple ad homs': there’s no reason to, since name-calling is synonymous with ‘abusive ad homs’, both implying PERSONAL attacks.

    Along those lines, the difference between an ‘ad hom attack’ and ‘ad hom fallacy’ is whether you are the one delivering the insult (attacking) or an audience member who is persuaded by hearing the unfair attack to accept it as valid (fallacy).

    You asked about the difference between an ad hom ‘attack’ and ‘argument’. Simply insulting someone isn’t in the form of an argument (premise and conclusion), but only is offering an unsupported premise of conclusion.

    An attack is automatically assumed to be an argument, where the insult serves as the premise, but where the conclusion is inferred as, “therefore you should reject my opponents claims.” Of course, no sane person would say, “my opponent is insane, therefore you should ACCEPT his position!” That should be self-evident.

    Ad homs attempt to exploit pre-existing biases the audience harbors against certain groups. Jen briefly touched upon that aspect when mentioning being called an ‘angry middle-aged woman’. It may be TRUE, but it’s irrelevant unless the discussion is relevant to that topic.

    An even more egregious ad hom would be calling Jen a lesbian (she’s openly ‘out’) and even worse if using a pejorative (dyke, etc), since that’s clearly even-more abusive, and is assumed to be intended to elicit bigotry against gays that are likely harbored by members in the audience.

    It’s a foul to say it (ad hom attack) and for an audience member to accept it as valid (ad hom fallacy) and the person should be called out by the mod for going out of bounds.

    It’s primarily offense NOT because it’s not PC and hence a breach of etiquette, but because it’s an insult to REASON, an attempt to sway the audience by relying on emotions rather than intellect.

    Once again, it’s simply irrelevant to the subject of the debate (unless the topic IS something pertaining to gay rights, and say Jen hadn’t disclosed her possible conflict of interest, etc). An opponent mentioning it is assumed to be attempting to ‘poison the well’ (aka genetic fallacy), discounting her as a valid SOURCE of arguments, instead of attacking the arguments that she actually offers.

    As Jen mentioned, it’s valid to question personal integrity if it’s possibly related to the issue under discussion (eg Wakefield’s conflict of interest surrounding the MMR vaccine debate), but in most cases, it’s out of bounds; it’s not tolerated if questioning the opponent is simply a fishing expedition, ie speculative, with no real evidence to suspect a violation has already occurred).

    A similar widespread bias (which is latent, hence more pernicious) exists against the mentally-ill, and labelling someone as ‘insane’ as a hyperbolic pejorative is automatically assumed as an abusive ad hom, for similar reasons. It’s not true, needlessly inflammatory, and more a reflection of the speaker’s inability to regulate their own emotions than anything else.

    So ONCE AGAIN, it’s NOT OK for Carrier or anyone else to use ‘insane’ as a pejorative, and esp. not in a debate setting, book review, forum interactions, etc where he called Ehrman ‘insane’. Ehrman came out the winner simply by retaliating with collegial behavior, posted his humorous response on his blog:

    http://ehrmanblog.org/fuller-reply-to-richard-carrier/

    Ad homs are wrong on so many levels, that once again, much as RD said in his tweet on another subject, anyone who doesn’t see WHY it’s wrong should be asking themselves what others are seeing that they apparently don’t.

    And whether engaging in informal discussions on an unmoderated forum on the internet, or participating in formal moderated debates, the rule applies that all claims are interpreted literally, in plain English; if what someone says is dramatic over-reach (whether for effect or unintentional), the person is guilty of committing the fallacy of hyperbole.

    Why rely on a plain-English interpretation?

    No one is psychic, and it’s fatiguing to deal with weak-minded debaters who have a bad-habit of habitually overstating their claims, but then demand everyone else should just automatically KNOW what they meant, rather than what they actually wrote or said (aka special pleading). Such foggy-brained thinkers sidetrack and bog down discussions with their hysterical over-reach, which constantly requires reeling their statements back down from stratospheric heights (and don’t ask why I can use hyperbole to argue against hyperbole: I just CAN, m’kay)!

    ;)

    It’s (yet) another distraction from the topic under discussion, diverting the focus from the purpose of uncovering TRUTHS.

    And if you actually believe that your beliefs inform your actions, you’d realize that adopting a similar approach is not only useful for debates, but for making ALL informed decisions (including making the decision to call someone an ass-hat).

    Speaking of which, Matt is absolutely incorrect in the video (~12:00) when he said (paraphrased), “and you CAN say you’re an a-hole and here’s why your argument is wrong, BTW, and you haven’t committed any fallacy”. (Jen agreed with that, saying “right”).

    Sorry, but calling someone an ass-hat is ALWAYS an abusive ad hom, and Matt’s trying to pull a fast one by sneaking the a-hole claim into refuting their argument, since whether the opponent is an a-hole or not has NOTHING to do with the truth of the argument they present (which is challenged via refutation), or if their conclusion is valid.

    And successfully destroying your opponent’s position does NOT give you justification to DECLARE them an ass-hat, either: there is no special exception for “winning”, as if a ‘victors ad hom’ exists.

    (I’m thinking some must be confusing the principles of debating with playing “Mortal Kombat”, where if you weaken the opponent sufficiently, a disembodied voice of appears (who, the moderator?) and commands you to “finish them off!” with an ‘abusive ad hom’ lethal blow.

    Huh? Really?

    And even if true, a-holes can be right, too (and often are: some of the people others consider to be the biggest a-holes are those who know their shit, but piss other people off by rarely being wrong: they’re smart enough not to open their mouths when they don’t know what they’re talking about. They’ve apparenty learned the lesson of, “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open ones mouth and remove all doubt”.)

    So UNLESS the topic of the debate IS “Is Matt’s opponent actually an a-hole?”, Matt calling the guy an a-hole would be ‘begging the question’ if not immediately followed with supportive evidence (eg Matt presenting evidence of his opponent’s assholery, eg he cheated on his wife while she was dying of cancer, etc).

    Again: ALL claims require corresponding supportive evidence OF THEIR OWN, no ifs, ands, or buts.

    That’s why debaters should choose their words carefully: over-reach is toxic to rationalism, as it allows one to arrive at wrong conclusions by making a series of small errors along the way (aka propagation of error).

    And as this example shows, the great danger is NOT what we DON’T know (and which we realize we don’t know, hence don’t form an opinion on, remaining agnostic), but ideas which we’re convinced are true which become our BELIEFS; they’re nevertheless incorrect. As Matt said in the video, he’s human just like us all.

    It’s not the ‘unknown-unknowns’ that leads to errors in decision-making, so much as the ‘unknown knowns’ the things we’re convinced we know as truths, when we’re simply wrong.

    BTW, here’s one source on FTB of this nonsensical idea supporting the right to insult an opponent in a debate (as if debates have devolved into episodes of the Jerry Springer Show):

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2011/09/15/what-is-an-ad-hominem-what-isnt/

    (And for fun, see how many fallacies you can count in his article…)

    Anyone who’s willing to counter what I said above, using logic and reason, feel free to do so.

    Adam

  109. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @adamah
    You read into what I wrote to suit your argument, rather than apply an honest reading. You applied many, many qualifiers which were not in what I said. I did very much intend a general claim.

    I have even a more general point that laypeople are not automatically completely incompetent at having an informed opinion on technical matters of any field. To an extent, of course. I may be able to determine that a friend of mine who never breaks character of Napoleon, and is frequently arrested by police for brandishing his sword claiming to be Napoleon, etc., is insane. However, I may not be able to reliably detect ADD, bipolar, etc. Similarly, I know enough that a 10 lb weight does not fall 10x faster than a 1 lb weight, even though I am not a physicist.

    I refuse to led portions of knowledge arbitrarily and unjustifiably be cut off, and deemed “unallowed”, unless you have a degree. This kind of fiat, this arbitrarily ivory tower elitism, is unjustified. I’m not going to let someone tell me that “You don’t have a degree and so you don’t know” when I clearly do know, and can justify that I know.

  110. adamah says

    EL said-

    You read into what I wrote to suit your argument, rather than apply an honest reading.

    Puleeze. You’re not trying to play the theist’s protest of, “but that’s out of context!”, are you?

    As I just explained to AhmNee, a literal plain-English interpretation applies: it’s hard-enough of a concept for many to grasp, and to do otherwise opens a can of worms which anyone who’s ever encountered the other fave theist defense (“Oh, that scripture is only figurative….”) should easily grasp as to why.

    You applied many, many qualifiers which were not in what I said. I did very much intend a general claim.

    Cool, but since you offered no actual examples of where I presumably engaged in eisegesis, but you only offer vague generalities, it’s a whole lotta words, but not much content.

    I have even a more general point that laypeople are not automatically completely incompetent at having an informed opinion on technical matters of any field. To an extent, of course.

    Pointless disclaimer aside (“to an extent”), who said they weren’t entitled to form opinions? Not me….

    If you actually thought about the situation I even offered, you’d realize that a jury does EXACTLY THAT, with lay-people deciding whether a defendent is ‘not guilty by reason of insanity': that’s a legal determination which a GROUP of citizens makes, after the State gives them that right.

    I refuse to led portions of knowledge arbitrarily and unjustifiably be cut off, and deemed “unallowed”, unless you have a degree. This kind of fiat, this arbitrarily ivory tower elitism, is unjustified. I’m not going to let someone tell me that “You don’t have a degree and so you don’t know” when I clearly do know, and can justify that I know

    Basic concept you seem to be missing here is that practicing medicine or law is NOT only about ‘having a corresponding degree’, but being licensed by the required State and Federal authorities to perform that role. There’s many lawyers who “have a degree” but don’t practice law for any number of reasons. There are many licensed practicing lawyers, but a few get appointed to serve as judges. It’s not about having the knowledge and thus the CAPABILITY, but also about having the AUTHORITY. It’s why it not enough to know HOW to drive, but about going to the DMV and getting a LICENSE to drive.

    Along those lines, sure, a layperson is just as capable of trying to influence the conventions used in a field they’re not a member of, but don’t be shocked when you get looked at askance and they say, “Uh, who are you, again?”

    For your own benefit, you might learn something about the social contract, principles of consumer/patient/client protection, delegation of authority issues, etc.

    Adam

  111. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @adamah
    I have no clue how any of that relates to the discussion regarding Richard Carrier calling someone insane, and whether it’s ever reasonable for a layperson to call someone insane. I do not see how it addresses anything I’ve said.

  112. says

    Adam, just stop, please. Please? I agree that “the great evil feminist messaging campaign, targeted at the destruction of Adam’s life” has harmed you. You can now bask in your win knowing that any feminist who uses a word colloquially can be put in their place by your epistemic medical definition. Not because you hate them, you just hate their ideas, especially when it comes to Elliot Roger or Jaclyn Glenn.

  113. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Protip: The meaning of words is by consensus. Consensus changes over time. Language changes over time. It is almost always incorrect to argue about the meaning of a word by citing its meaning from a hundred (or more) years ago, aka by citing its etymology.

    This protip has been brought to you by your friendly neighborhood EnlightenmentLiberal.

  114. Earnest says

    I pretty much agree with your message about being skeptical of all ideas, even the ones we present ourselves. This is something we should all be reminded of before opening our big fat mouths.

    I think the first part of the confusion here is just that “Atheism +” isn’t so easily carved up into a “thing”. It’s relatively new and different people have different ideas about what it is and what it should be. So when criticizing “Atheism +” you’re going to have a lot of people saying, “nuh uh that’s not what it is!” and “Straw Man!”

    As a skeptic, it’s important to try to understand exactly what is being criticized and if that criticism is warranted or not.

    Specifically, Jaclyn Glenn and many others are highly skeptical and critical of the divisiveness that seems to be a large part of Atheism +. This is a huge problem with any movement and there is some concern that this crosses over into the realm of radical feminism or radical social justice. When I say “radical” I mean a group that is so dogmatic that their ideas are above reproach, are above skepticism.

    As I said, depending on who you talk to or read from, this may not actually even be a part of what they think Atheism + is. The fact of the matter is that this type of radical divisiveness does exist within almost any community I’ve ever seen. There are always those who want to wall off discussion and cling to their ideas as dogma.

    HOWEVER, an important point is that it does seem like Atheism + was started and pushed forward by a few people (specifically on this blogsite) who held a “you’re with us or against us attitude, and btw if you’re against us, you’re a douchebag” attitude.” This is no straw man, and this attitude is what Glenn is parodying. If that’s not you or what you think of Atheism +, then great! You probably agree it’s a shitty attitude for a skeptic to have.

    Anyways, hope my point makes sense. I typically don’t like to comment on blogs, but this was of particular interest to me.

  115. says

    Well, a crappy attitude on the part of someone holding an idea says nothing about the validity of the idea. But too many people take this reactionary stand of, “I met a feminist/social justice person online, and they were a big old mean jerk, and so the very principles of feminism/social justice are bullshit and you suck if you’re in favor of them.”

  116. adamah says

    Martin said-

    Well, a crappy attitude on the part of someone holding an idea says nothing about the validity of the idea.

    True, as the ‘dots’ aren’t necessarily correlated. It’s why jumping to criticize someone’s attitude is considered a variant of the “style over substance” fallacy (instead of appealing to ones position via style, the flip-side is criticizing someone’s style vs attacking on substance).

    However, ‘attitude’ often reflects biases which forms one’s beliefs, which often is reflected in their arguments. Only THEN does the manifestation of attitude becomes fair game for the debate, when it leads to expressed statements.

    (I suspect Earnest would agree that he wasn’t objecting to Carriers ‘attitude’, per se, as much as the comments which expressed his attitude.)

    In this case, Carrier apparently HAD voiced Jesus’ famous divisive phrase, “You’re either with us or against us”.

    Is the delicious irony lost of Carrier?

    It’s impossible to imagine he’s unaware that Jesus was attempting to cut the umbilical cord that still connected his sect to Judaism, intentionally introducing divisive practices to force his disciples to follow him past the point of no return (eg Last Supper’s symbolic consumption of blood/flesh, a stonable-offense under Hebrew Mosaic law which led to the person becoming ‘karet’ (lit. “cut off from the community”) by way of death).

    Carrier’s impassioned plea (not a compliment, BTW: passion is anathema to reason) was seemingly in defense of, divisiveness and, to quote a phrase that also reflects ends-justified thinking, needing to “break a few eggs to make omelettes”.

    Did Carrier actually offer ANY valid reasons to justify the position, or did he rely only on rhetorical sleight of hand and hyperbole?

    What defense is there for introducing an ‘us vs them’ mind-set into ANY ideology, that as this current Jaclyn example demonstrates, even has many so-called ‘rationalists’ willing to abandon their claimed lauding of reason in the name of conformity to a group?

    (The irony of the name ‘Free Thought Blogs’ is too exquisite not to mention, completely inconsistent with the, “for us or against us” reductionist binary mind-set of radicals. No one read ‘Lord of the Flies’, ‘1984’, or other works which demonstrated the hazards of ‘group-think’?)

    But too many people take this reactionary stand of, “I met a feminist/social justice person online, and they were a big old mean jerk, and so the very principles of feminism/social justice are bullshit and you suck if you’re in favor of them.”

    And with that observation, surely you’re NOT attempting to play a ‘tu quoque’ card, right?

    You’re not suggesting dogmatically adopting a reactionary radical mind-set to OPPOSE others’ forming reactionary radical mind-sets?

    Although I can see the superficial appeal of such an idea, it seems like a very questionable-premise, at best….

    If that’s not what you meant, then what conclusion is to be drawn from the observation you made?

    Adam

  117. adamah says

    Well, THAT’S good to hear.

    But the question remains as to why you appeared to play a tuo quoque card? If not that, then why did you make the observation?

  118. says

    Sorry, where did I do that again? Also…

    (The irony of the name ‘Free Thought Blogs’ is too exquisite not to mention, completely inconsistent with the, “for us or against us” reductionist binary mind-set of radicals. No one read ‘Lord of the Flies’, ’1984′, or other works which demonstrated the hazards of ‘group-think’?)

    Sorry, but where again does anything one blogger here says automatically reflect the views of all of us? I mean, somehow Richard Carrier expresses a position and bam! Groupthink! It’s getting a little hard to see through all this straw you keep kicking into the air.

  119. adamah says

    I clearly was referring to this observation you made:

    Martin said-

    But too many people take this reactionary stand of, “I met a feminist/social justice person online, and they were a big old mean jerk, and so the very principles of feminism/social justice are bullshit and you suck if you’re in favor of them.”

    I said:

    In the context of the topic under discussion, surely you’re NOT attempting to play a ‘tu quoque’ card, right?

    I asked you to clarify what you intended by making that observation, and the question still remains unanswered: if not an observation of “but they do it, too!” (as if to serve as an excuse for fighting fire with fire), then what actual purpose does your observation serve to your position?

    Simply put: why did you say it? Can you explain?

    Adam

  120. says

    I fail to see what position you think I have that’s undermined by pointing out that a lot of people are dismissive of feminism because of personal dislike for, or an unpleasant encounter they’ve had with a feminist. “So-and-so pissed me off, and they’re a feminist, and so feminism is a bad thing only supported by bad people.” I see anti-feminists argue like this all the time.

    In thie specific case of “Atheism+”, the idea that social justice and equality are worthwhile goals for atheists to support is in no way undermined by the fact that Richard Carrier once made an us-vs-them remark that some people didn’t like. Being turned off by Carrier’s attitude has no bearing on the question of whether equality is a better goal for society than maintaining a (mostly religiously justified) social hierarchy that disenfranchises and marginalizes anyone who isn’t straight, white, male and Christian.

    Perhaps you could explain why you continue to spout the falsehood that Freethought Blogs is a hivemind and that any one blogger here speaks for the group at large by default.

  121. Earnest says

    Hey Martin,

    Thanks for your reply. I pretty much agree with what you say, but I wanted to add one caveat.

    When you say,

    “Well, a crappy attitude on the part of someone holding an idea says nothing about the validity of the idea.”

    You’re exactly right. BUT my “spider sense” gets set off when an idea is presented alongside something resembling a threat or a dichotomy. When something is presented as “believe this or dot dot dot” I wonder IF the idea can stand on its own merit. If so, why the threat?

    Maybe it just reminds me of Pascal’s Wager or something similar.

    But again, that’s not any statement about the validity of the idea,it just begs the question of why it’s being presented that way. I think the idea of social justice, feminism, anti-racism, etc holds up to scrutiny.

    “But too many people take this reactionary stand of, “I met a feminist/social justice person online, and they were a big old mean jerk, and so the very principles of feminism/social justice are bullshit and you suck if you’re in favor of them.”

    I agree, and those people aren’t right. Is this the impression you got from Jaclyn Glenn, or something I said in my post? If so, where?

  122. Earnest says

    I think you misunderstood adamah’s comment when you said,

    “Sorry, but where again does anything one blogger here says automatically reflect the views of all of us? I mean, somehow Richard Carrier expresses a position and bam! Groupthink! It’s getting a little hard to see through all this straw you keep kicking into the air.”

    He wasn’t making the point that “Richard Carrier expressed an opinion on this blogsite, therefore all bloggers on this site agree. Irony!”

    He was just making the statement that the “us vs. them” position itself is indicative of the desire for groupthink, and risks forming a community that falls prey to that. The very idea is in conflict with freethought.

    Also, it wasn’t JUST Richard Carrier who held that position when Atheism + was first proposed, and I believe that too many Atheism + folks still hold this position.

  123. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    >groupthink

    Or, you know, sometimes one group is just wrong and one group is just right.

  124. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Earnest
    Replace “anti-feminist” with “racist” or “nazi”, and see how far your question / implicit argument goes. We both give reasons why they’re wrong, and “threats” in the sense that we will shun them, and we do not want them part of our community – unless and until they shape up.

  125. Earnest says

    You would be right, if feminism had the same historical context and broad understanding as anti-racism and anti-nazi-ism. There aren’t that many people that are outward proponents of racism or nazism, and those that are, you could just shun them. Though for my own part, I’m still willing to have conversations with people in an attempt to sway them from unreasonable positions, given I see some inkling of reasonability.

    Given that feminism is a highly divided issue, I would say that making the case for feminism is more important than dismissing/shunning those that don’t agree “until they shape up”. After all, feminists have good arguments.

    To me, it’s like the evolution/creationism debate (I assume you believe in evolution). It’s easy to laugh, dismiss and shun “creatards” and just say they’ll never learn. It’s OBVIOUS to us that evolution occurred and if they don’t get it, fuck em. But I’d rather just meet on an even playing field and argue my position. Making them even more skeptical of my position by making them feel otherized is not something I’m personally interested in doing.

  126. Earnest says

    “Or, you know, sometimes one group is just wrong and one group is just right.”

    Even if you’re in the group that’s right, it’s helpful to be critical of your position just the same, and critical of how you communicate it. Groupthink mentality can still be detrimental even IF your general position is right.

  127. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    In that sense of the word, I don’t see any groupthink (minus in the Pharyngula comments section itself sometimes). What I see is a community rightly calling shenanigans on horrible people.

  128. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Your analogy to creationism is not applicable. Creationism is largely a factual matter. I can cite evidence and argument that creationism is factually false. Feminism is a moral / values matter. If one is not already a decent human being and believes that women deserve equal consideration, there is very little I can do to change their mind. It’s not like I can just cite some evidence that would convince them to be a decent human being.

    About the word “feminism” being misunderstood. It’s only misunderstood by those grossly ignorant of the issue, and those who decide to remain purposefully ignorant of the issue. There is no real confusion to anyone informed about the history of feminism.

    In short, you are supposing the existence of nice people, who respect women, who think women deserve equal consideration, but just accidentally fell into the MRA movement or some such. Bollocks. It’s like an honest Christian apologist. It does not exist (or if it does, it’s as rare as unicorns).

  129. adamah says

    Earnest said-

    He was just making the statement that the “us vs. them” position itself is indicative of the desire for groupthink, and risks forming a community that falls prey to that. The very idea is in conflict with freethought.

    Yes, that’s exactly my point. Thanks for the rephrasing, Earnest.

    ;)

    I even specifically mentioned how it’s hard to imagine a historian/NT scholar like Carrier wouldn’t be aware of the message Jesus’ infamously-divisive words were intended to convey (and still send today, even in the plain-English interpretation).

    However, Martin went with the hyperbolic over-reach interpretation…

    SInce the RD comment appears to be at the root of Martin’s bias against him (and by proxy, Jaclyn), the issue arose back in Sept 2013, when RD made the comment during a promo tour for his biography (he’d previously mentioned “mild pedophilia” in another book, but it didn’t create the shitstorm as it did in 2013).

    It was discussed on JWN, where we unpacked the Salon article:

    http://www.jehovahs-witness.net/watchtower/child-abuse/2681083/1/Richard-Dawkins-Fail#.U9f-k0bn_ow

    Notice how the victim advocacy groups in UK insisted on their hyperbolic over-reaching interpretation of his words, not letting facts get in the way of rushing to bash RD.

    Who wants to let something like facts interfere with a ‘tarring and feathering’ campaign?

    Apparently there’s nothing victim’s advocacy groups hate more than victims who are unwilling to shut up and play their roles, refusing to waste their lives by adopting a ‘victim mentality’ that requires adopting the self-defeating perception of seeing themselves as ‘victims’ of others.

    The ones claiming to advocate for a cause (eg radical feminists) often end up in engaging in the very thing they claim to protest (misogyny), except targeting other females (aka ‘sister punishing’) who dared commit the offense of not buying in to their cause.

    There’s also nothing that OTHERS who see themselves as victims detest more then seeing victims manage to become EX-victims, those who manage to overcome the traumatic event or loss.

    Once again, the more broadly an advocacy group defines the qualifications, the larger the group they can claim to represent. Like a Roach Motel, roaches check in but they don’t check out.

    Sounds a lot like religions, requiring everyone to accept seeing themselves as sinners in need of salvation, or the AA declaring that ALL alcoholics must accept they’ll forever be unable to ever drink again (even in moderation) for the rest of their lives, despite clinical evidence that shows some alcoholics ARE able to return to drinking in moderation.

    People and their beloved dogmas….

    Martin, the thing we ALL can agree on is equality: I’m ALL FOR equality.

    Except unlike you, I’m actually for TRUE EQUALITY, a truly-level playing field for all participants (think of Lady Justitia holding the scales of social justice while blind-folded, offering equal access to opportunity to all persons, regardless of sex/gender, color of skin, etc. based ONLY on their abilities).

    It’s actually like posting on-line: I truly don’t care WHAT sex another poster is (for all anyone knows, I may not be a male), since it doesn’t matter: I’ll never meet anyone from online, and I don’t even think about their sex or other personal characteristics of any other poster, since I’m paying attention to their expressed IDEAS, their ARGUMENTS: I’m not fantasizing about what their genitalia might be, lol.

    Martin and radical feminists SAY they want equality, but what they actually seek seems to be INEQUALITY, with feminists assuming a privileged status, as if their opinion matters more than others who disagree, where anyone who opposes their cause should just “shut up and listen”.

    It’s as if some want to be given a special pass from the rules of logic, with their ideas placed on a pedestal above criticism (aka special pleading) in the name of serving some unnamed ‘higher purpose’.

    So Martin (or anyone else who feels they can), here’s a chance to make your best case for special pleading (which I’m not against, per se: some causes warrant special pleading).

    We all agree equality is a worthy goal, but can any of you explain WHY we should exceed equality, and bias in favor of a group which admittedly HAS historically been oppressed, in order to end up at true equality at some undetermined time in the future?

    If the goal is equality, WHY should we accept the concept of some having privileged status, and not just bypass the middle stage?

    (And you might not want to go with the principle of compensating for the “sins of our forefathers” argument: that’s from the Bible, which in typical flip-flop manner, denounces the concept of inherited sin in Isaiah; you’d think Isaiah would throw cold water on the idea of Adamic original sin, but that assumes Xians even bother to READ the OT, much less understand it).

    Adam

  130. Earnest says

    3 short points:

    1. I think moral decisions and values are based on facts and I believe some people behave/believe immorally because they are mistaken about facts. You can teach morality.

    2. I never said there was misunderstanding over the word feminism (although there might be). What I was saying is that anti-feminism is not in the same category as racism or nazism in terms of society’s education and understanding of them.

    3. You seem to be grasping at straws with the last paragraph. I’m not sure how you gathered what kind of people I’m supposing the existence of.

    All I’m saying is that good ideas (even about moral issues) can be communicated well and convince other people, and the decision to shun or threaten those that don’t agree with you seems counterproductive to skepticism and rational discourse.

    Your pessimism saddens me a little too :-(

  131. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Earnest
    You think that one shouldn’t shun neo-Nazi skinheads? You think one should welcome them when they come here and write anti-everything screeds, while trying to point out the error of their ways? No.

    And no, you cannot teach morality. If someone’s morality is that they should do in-group promotion, like neo-Nazi skinheads, there are little to no facts to show the errors of their ways. They have decided to promote their own “racial interests” at the expense of others. That’s evil. There’s very little you can do. Ideally the parenting would have been better. In fact, the best way to “teach” is to shun and let them know that their shit is not acceptable in today’s world.

    You are confused about skepticism. Skepticism is merely the requirement you keep an open mind. Skepticism is not a requirement that you provide a public platform for the evil views of others. Skepticism is not a requirement that you are honor-bound to listen to every neo-Nazi in depth every time for hours before you dismiss them. Your time is limited, and it’s not your job as a skeptic to listen to every crank ever.

    Example: Matt Dillahunty usually gives the cranks on the atheist experience one shot. He usually tells them to bring their best argument, and when that fails, he dismisses them and hangs up on them. Note that even this is not required to be a skeptic. This is going above and beyond. Only because he’s running a television show where the point is to engage. For me outside of the TV show, I would rarely be that generous, because it’s my time, and my time is limited and precious, and I’d rather not spend it on arguments practically refuted a thousand times.

    Of course, sometimes I do – such as I’m doing with you right now, because I find it enjoyable, not out of any purported duty to asshats such as yourself. Yes, you right now are defending the MRAs, saying we should give them equal time or some shit. That’s what “not shunning them” implies. You didn’t intend to give them equal access? Tough. That’s the result of what you’re asking for. Intent is not magic. Ignorance is not a perfect moral excuse (although it’s better than nothing).

    However, you are quickly going from defending evil in ignorance to defending evil with knowledge, and about when I decide you’re at that point, I’m going to give up on the conversation. About when you say that discrimination against Jews and blacks (Nazis and racists) is somehow morally worse than discrimination against women (anti-feminists). I think you said it here:

    I never said there was misunderstanding over the word feminism (although there might be). What I was saying is that anti-feminism is not in the same category as racism or nazism in terms of society’s education and understanding of them.

    Pick your words very carefully. Are you saying that discrimination against women is more acceptable than discrimination against Jews and blacks? Or are you arguing that there is a confusion in the culture about the meaning of the word “feminist”? Those seem to be your only options. You seemed to dismiss the second, which leaves you in the first, which is morally vile, and I have little time for bigots. You seem to think that I can educate you to not be a bigot. What do you suggest? What facts should I show you to convince you that women deserve as much as protection as blacks and Jews? That they deserve equal consideration and treatment under the law and in the culture?

  132. Earnest says

    Well, you have certainly soundly defeated the arguments of Straw Earnest. :-)

    I think I may just leave it up to anyone reading this if you addressed anything remotely close to my position (all the while mildly inferring that I might be a bigot, and proponent for Neo-Nazism and MRAs).

    The mischaracterization is so bad that I suspect this might be a tactic, BUT on the chance that, in an attempt to understand my point of view, there was just some miscommunication, I would be more than happy to clarify. Though I would like some assurance that you weren’t using some form of smear tactic before I waste my time on clarifying.

    Just a quick example. When you said “Are you saying that discrimination against women is more acceptable than discrimination against Jews and blacks? Or are you arguing that there is a confusion in the culture about the meaning of the word “feminist”? Those seem to be your only options.”

    You then go on to try to pigeon-hole me into one of those options, and then soundly thrash that straw argument.

    The two options you presented are a false dichotomy, and my answer to your specific question is “neither.” I’m arguing that there is a lack of education and understanding about the concept of feminism, especially in contrast to society’s general understanding of racism and nazism. I believe that generally people who are racist/nazis are willfully ignorant of the facts concerning their position, and people who don’t understand the concept of feminism may just be ignorant. I think you can teach people to not be ignorant of an issue, but it may be more difficult to teach someone who is willfully ignorant of it, thus the different category and quicker dismissal of those types.

    Anyways, thanks for the reply.

  133. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    How the hell is what you just wrote not adequately captured with “Or are you arguing that there is a confusion in the culture about the meaning of the word “feminist”? “ ?

  134. Earnest says

    Because words and concepts are two different things. I’m talking about their being ignorance about the concept of feminism.

    Notice the difference between these two phrases:

    I’m confused about the meaning of the word “rugby”.

    I’m confused about Rugby.

  135. Earnest says

    And so it seems there was just some genuine linguistic misunderstanding, so I retract my statement about you using a “tactic” and apologize.

  136. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I still have no idea what point you are trying to make. Please give me some detailed examples in either case of your distinction. Example, someone who is confused about the word but not the concept, and someone who is confused about the concept but not the word.

  137. Earnest says

    cолнце – You’re probably confused about the meaning of this word, but I’m sure you’re very familiar with the concept to which it refers.

    quantum physics – You’re probably very familiar with the term, and the basic definition of it, but the concept of quantum physics is something you’re probably confused about.

    Both of these examples assume you’re not Russian or a quantum physicist, of course.

  138. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I can buy quantum mechanics. The math is hard. The consequences are hard. People can be familiar with the word without understanding the knowledge-base behind it.

    I don’t buy the analogy for feminism yet. Ex:

    I’m talking about their being ignorance about the concept of feminism.

    What are you trying to say here?

    If I follow your analogy, you’re claiming that there’s some group of people (MRAs) who are familiar with the word feminism, but they don’t “understand” the concept that men and women should be treated equally? I don’t think that’s your position. It also doesn’t make sense. Quantum mechanics is hard. There are legitimate reasons why someone might not understand. For feminism, the concept is so basic that everyone can and does understand the concept, but they may disagree with the concept. That’s different. Understanding does not automatically lead to acceptance of the moral values. There are no moral values in quantum mechanics.

    I’m still not quite sure what you’re trying to say, and I’m not even sure where we are now in the conversation. Let me bring it back around.

    If someone doesn’t understand quantum theory, then that’s no reason to shun them. If they understand quantum theory, the evidence behind it, but simply wish to make-believe and deny the obvious, then that’s a pretty good reason to shun them.

    Similarly, if someone doesn’t understand that feminism is just the philosophy for the equal treatment of men and women, that’s a good time to educate. However, if they understand feminism is that, but think that equal treatment of men and women is a bad idea, then it’s time to shun them.

    Do you disagree? I think you do. What do you suggest when I meet someone who thinks that equal treatment of men and women is a bad idea? Surely it is wrong to give them a platform for their evil ideas. Surely we should choose to not associate with them for our own happiness, and to preserve our respect in the culture as a group that does not stand for the evil values of rejecting feminism. I agree that reasoning and educating has a place, but when that fails, you don’t let the anti-feminist remain without comment. You constantly call out the anti-feminist for their morally heinous position, and if they are disruptive in any way after the discussion and education, or make others feel uncomfortable with their bullshit, or if they give our group a bad name, then you kick them out. Right?

  139. Earnest says

    Couple of things.

    “you’re claiming that there’s some group of people (MRAs)”

    First, this is another straw man, but another one based on miscommunication.

    I feel we should make the distinction between “not feminist”, “anti-feminist” and “MRA”. I’m simply referring to anyone who is not a feminist. This could be for a variety of reasons. “Not feminist” doesn’t necessarily equate to “Men’s Right’s Activist” or even “anti-feminist.”

    It could also be the case that they are just ignorant to feminism in general, or it could also be the case that they have a bad opinion of the label of feminist, while still agreeing with the basic concepts of male/female equality.

    My overall point is that you will never know with an “us vs. them” attitude in which you shun all who are not agreeing with your point of view.

    “If they understand quantum theory, the evidence behind it, but simply wish to make-believe and deny the obvious, then that’s a pretty good reason to shun them.”

    I think this is where we will agree the most. In previous comments you mentioned that I was advocating for giving skin heads a platform or something. This is not the case at all.

    I’m advocating that anyone that shows that they value skepticism, rational discourse, and open-mindedness, should be allowed at the grown up table to discuss deep issues like morality, equality, etc. Generally, nazis, racists, homophobes, misogynists, misandrists, and skinheads don’t fall into this category.

    But there are plenty of people out there who might fall into the category of being uninformed or uneducated skeptics, who have formed irrational ideas based on poor information or poor understanding. I was one of them, and it’s very likely that I still am.

    Bringing us back to another point of disagreement. I think that you can teach people to care about skepticism and reason. I also think you can teach people to be better at being skeptical. This all floats back to determining if a person is ignorant, or willfully ignorant.

    “Similarly, if someone doesn’t understand that feminism is just the philosophy for the equal treatment of men and women, that’s a good time to educate. However, if they understand feminism is that, but think that equal treatment of men and women is a bad idea, then it’s time to shun them.”

    If this is all that feminism is, then I agree, mostly. I think there are people who confuse your very basic and very accurate concept of feminism with feminist theory, which is a bit more complicated and possibly contentious.

    “Right?”

    It just depends on the situation and the severity, but I think we basically agree here too.

  140. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I think this is where we will agree the most. In previous comments you mentioned that I was advocating for giving skin heads a platform or something. This is not the case at all.
    I’m advocating that anyone that shows that they value skepticism, rational discourse, and open-mindedness, should be allowed at the grown up table to discuss deep issues like morality, equality, etc. Generally, nazis, racists, homophobes, misogynists, misandrists, and skinheads don’t fall into this category.

    I don’t understand. I’m not strawmanning you. I honestly see no other option besides shaming, shunning, and banning such people on sight. “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.” Doing nothing is condoning their behavior. Saying nothing is condoning their behavior. Not banning them is giving them a platform for their views and helping promote their evil views.

    If you’re feeling generous, you can give the asshats a couple of posts to explain their position before you ban them. However, that’s not required. As I said before, it is not a requirement of skepticism to spend hours on every crackpot theory and evil moral view. You’ve heard it enough, your time is precious, and it’s highly unlikely that this next holocaust denier is going to convince you, and so you save some time.

    I feel we should make the distinction between “not feminist”, “anti-feminist” and “MRA”. I’m simply referring to anyone who is not a feminist. This could be for a variety of reasons. “Not feminist” doesn’t necessarily equate to “Men’s Right’s Activist” or even “anti-feminist.”

    No we shouldn’t make that distinction. Either you are a decent human being and you are willing to speak up for equality of the genders, which makes you a feminist, or you are not. “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.”

    I understand that some people don’t like the label “feminist” because of negative stigma attached to it. This is very similar to how some people don’t like to identify as atheist when they don’t believe in any gods. However, that doesn’t change the meaning of the word (according to common usage). People who don’t believe in gods are atheists, whether they want to recognize that or not, and people who are for equality of the genders are feminists, whether they want to recognize that or not. Further, those who don’t use the labels further promote these misunderstandings and negative stereotypes, stigmas, which is another reason to call out these shenanigans when it happens.

    It seems in your world that you would never sanction or condemn vile behavior. I’d rather not live in your world, thankyouverymuch.

    You are right that this is about the end of the conversation. I doubt you will be able to say anything to convince me that the world will be a better place if we don’t shun those who continually promote vile ideas, but you’re welcome to continue. I suspect you have nothing new to add though, so I won’t hold my breath.

    PS: I suspect you will again continue to accuse me of false dichotomies and strawmanning, but you will also continue to refuse to elaborate on your position, and how you can make evil ideas go away without public shaming. If you want to make some headway, try that. Of course, I suspect you’ll just say something idiotic like shaming doesn’t work, or that some alternative to shaming like mere “civil discussion” is effective at changing vile beliefs. Those are probably non-starters, based on my own experience. To change my mind there, you’re going to need to cite some genuine studies on these specific issues. I wonder if they exist. I also bet those studies would support my position, not yours, as to what are effective tactics at changing minds (while still preserving open discussion).

    Yes, I know you think shaming and open discussion is contradictory. In part, it is. We should allow people to voice their opinions, and then apply just enough shaming to ensure that when people advocate bad ideas, we give those ideas enough consideration, and then apply just enough shaming to ensure that they will not say that particular bad idea again, while still allowing future discussion on other bad ideas. It’s a very, very difficult balancing act, and I don’t have any clearer guidelines than that.

  141. Earnest says

    Well, since you’re in favor of shaming….you should be ashamed of this post. Wow.

  142. adamah says

    Earnest said-

    Well, since you’re in favor of shaming….you should be ashamed of this post. Wow.

    Word….

    I’m hoping EL’s choice of a handle is intended as irony: peppering posts with references to “evul” is highly-irrational and smacks of a believer who’s simply trolling for lulz, esp. since this is a forum discussing atheism (where many self-describe as rationalists).

    However, it would be a hasty conclusion to accept EL isn’t sincere, since It’s like the old saying: any parody of believers is difficult to differentiate from the real thing, since there’s so much overlap.

    Adam

  143. Earnest says

    Yeah, so to clarify. When I saw your post, I struggled for about 30 minutes to figure out how exactly I would respond. It would take too long to hold your hand and walk back through where you extrapolated something I didn’t say or made an effort to pigeonhole me into a position based on your own misunderstanding. That’s already happened once before and I graciously corrected you and continued on. I don’t think I have the time to do it for this post because it’s about 5 times worse.

    In addition, you claimed anecdotal evidence about a dogmatic position you held and expected me to assume the burden of proof by providing a study to disprove you. A study you doubt exists. A study that you assume would support your position if it does. At this point, the game is over.

    Anyways, since I have not “elaborated” on my position apparently, allow me to state the three points I have made clearly.

    1. You should not otherize/shun/shame someone simply on the basis that you disagree with them.

    For some reason you keep trying to infer that what I ACTUALLY mean by this is that I might be a bigot and that I heart MRA’s, Nazi’s and racists and want to give them a forum to spread their VILE ideas! (hyperbole added for humor) LOLWUT.

    2. I think that you can teach rational people to change their minds about moral issues because I believe reason is the foundation for morality.

    3. I would even go so far to say that people who aren’t reasonable can learn to be reasonable.

  144. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    What’s wrong with talking about evil? Would you merely prefer a different word? Are you both moral nihilists or moral relativists?

    Note that I am not saying that evil is a real thing like color is a real thing. I’m not a moral Platonist or moral realist. In this sense, evil is just a synonym for undesirable (with stronger connotations).

  145. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Should you ever shame or shun someone? Should an (online) community ever shame, shun, or ban someone? For what reasons? What do you do with MRAs who keep coming on here posting vile nonsense?

  146. Earnest says

    “Should you ever shame or shun someone?”

    Sure.

    “Should an (online) community ever shame, shun, or ban someone? For what reasons?”

    Sure, it would depend on the purpose of the online community, and reasons would depend on that context.

    “What do you do with MRAs who keep coming on here posting vile nonsense?”

    If you’re talking about Freethought Blogs by “on here” then I’m not sure. I don’t hang around here enough to know the purpose of the comments here. Also considering that “vile” and “horrible” are some of your favorite adjectives, I’m not sure what you would consider vile has any descriptive power so I don’t have enough information to make a call on that.

    None of this is relevant to my positions in their original context. In the context of the Atheism+ movement,I disagree with the attitude that proponents of feminism/social justice should, by default, shame, shun and ban those that don’t agree with the you on every part of the Atheism + movement. Some critics agree with the core values, but criticize the name, methods, and “us vs. them” attitude. Some Atheism+ers would call these people douchebags, MRA’s, bigots, vile, horrible, and shame, shun, and ban them promptly based on “you’re with us or against us!”. If that’s you, then can you defend that position? If not, then….what are you opposing?

  147. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Let me get this out of the way. I do not attack atheists who do not identify as “atheist”. I do attack those who disparage the label “atheist” and who attack the values of atheism. For example, Niel deGrasse Tyson. (Sorry Neil, you’re a great guy, but you fucked up here.)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CzSMC5rWvos

    I never said that we should shun people who do not tow “the party line” on every minutia. That is an unfair characterization.

    I’m beginning to understand your position now. You have some sort of persecution complex. Why I don’t know. You think that “atheism+” and “feminism” contain some unfair or controversial positions, and sometimes people speak out against those positions and are unfairly censored.

    I never brought that up. You brought this baggage into the conversation. I have been exceedingly clear that we should shun misogynists aka anti-feminists. You have moved the goalposts because of your persecution complex.

    I do say that there are some online communities filled with reactionary, radical, and downright silly feminists. I argue with some myself from time to time. But this is a completely different conversation.

    The core tenants of feminism is that in society, men and women should generally be given equal consideration and treatment. That is the only tenant of feminism. None of this new stuff you allude to is part of feminism. If someone agrees to that, then they are a feminist, whether they want to admit it or not.

    If someone attacks those values, then they’re a dipshit and should be banned and shunned.

    If someone attacks the label “feminist”, then they’re either grossly ignorant or a dipshit. At best, you give them a moment or two as you try to correct a possible misunderstand, and failing that, then you ban and shun them.

    Finally,

    and “us vs. them” attitude

    Fuck you. I know you have this persecution complex which clouds your judgment, but fuck you. This kind of accommodationist drivel makes me sick. If someone is espousing vile beliefs, then the only proper course of action is “us vs them”. You do not sit idly by while someone is being a dipshit. You call them out on being a dipshit. If they don’t immediately shape up, then you shun and ban. That’s the only effective (and moral) way to change society and culture for the better. Fuck you for saying we cannot use the only tool to change culture for the better. Fuck you for saying we cannot improve the human condition.

    Again, I know your story already. You are saying that you think there’s this class of “oppressed MRAs” who have real concerns and are being unduly attacked. Fuck you and fuck your delusion.

  148. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also, all it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.

    People who say nothing are often moral cowards. We need to change our culture as well to make people stand up for things they believe in, and fight for justice. Apathy, “just following orders”, et al, are serious problems which need to be addressed. If you sit idly by while someone espouses bullshit, then you are also morally culpable. Not as culpable, but still culpable.

    We need to foster a society of “us vs them” on every important issue. In other words, we need to target apathy and destroy it.

    PS: I again recognize that we also need to foster a society of skepticism, open dialog, and honest inquiry. At face value, they’re contradictory, and in practice I see some contradiction too. Again, the Aesop of free speech is to allow us to identify bad ideas in order that we might get rid of them. The moral zeitgeist has improved because of people like me who won’t put up with shit – or apathy – from dipshits. (Which influences the new generation, and the older generation dies off.)

  149. Earnest says

    I never said that we should shun people who do not tow “the party line” on every minutia. That is an unfair characterization.

    I’m not characterizing you. Do you know who I am characterizing? People who shun people who do not tow “the party line” on every minutia”. Huh….what do you know…

    Need I remind you that I started this conversation talking about these people. YOU decided to jump in with your two cents and act like I’m talking about you for some reason. Maybe YOU have the persecution complex?

    Speaking of which…

    You have some sort of persecution complex.

    Do you know what a persecution complex is?

    Can you show me where I’ve said anything about personally being persecuted against? Anywhere? I’ll wait….

    You think that “atheism+” and “feminism” contain some unfair or controversial positions, and sometimes people speak out against those positions and are unfairly censored.

    No actually just radical versions of atheism + and radical versions of other idealogies.

    I never brought that up. You brought this baggage into the conversation.

    No…this “baggage” is part of my original point which you still can’t seem to understand. You agree this sort of behavior toxic at least to some degree when you said:

    I do say that there are some online communities filled with reactionary, radical, and downright silly feminists. I argue with some myself from time to time. But this is a completely different conversation.

    No! It’s this conversation! That’s what I’m talking about! But you decided to act as if I was attacking your position and then you went off on some tirade against MRA’s or something…sigh…this is tiresome. I am not sure you’re even replying to me at this point.

    None of this new stuff you allude to is part of feminism.

    I never said they were. I’m so confused.

    Fuck you. I know you have this persecution complex which clouds your judgment, but fuck you.

    I’ll wait for you to show where I have claimed to have been persecuted. By the way, I can tell by the “fuck you’s” that you seem angry about something. Go have some cocoa or tea. This is just the internet.

    You do not sit idly by while someone is being a dipshit.

    And I never advocated otherwise. Case in point, I’m not sitting idly by while YOU’RE being a dipshit, am I? :-D

    That’s the only effective (and moral) way to change society and culture for the better.

    This is a part of that anecdotal claim you were spouting earlier, expecting ME to prove you wrong when you haven’t even provided any justification for your position. I’ll wait…

    Fuck you for saying we cannot use the only tool to change culture for the better. Fuck you for saying we cannot improve the human condition.

    You are saying that you think there’s this class of “oppressed MRAs” who have real concerns and are being unduly attacked.

    Like…seriously…what the hell are you even reading? Are you responding to someone else? Please show where I wrote anything like this. I’m begging you at this point.

    I bet you can’t go one reply without making some shit up that I said. I hope this is the way the rest of the conversation goes. I make a point, you straw man, I point out your straw man, I make another point, lather rinse repeat. It’s like my original position hasn’t even been touched at this point. Easiest way to win an argument I guess.

  150. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You’re pretty good at trolling. You have just enough ambiguity and vagueness to insinuate your points while being able to weasel out of them. I am impressed.

    You see, an honest person wouldn’t need to hide behind ambiguity, and when confronted with an accidental or purposeful missphrasing of his position, he would take that opportunity to clarify in detail what his position actually is. Thus far, you have not. You seem to delight in being as vague as you can be.

    Let’s cut to the chase then.

    You say that we shouldn’t shun people online, or at least it shouldn’t be the default. You say that education of facts in online discussions is effective at changing the minds of misogynists. (You also bitch about the burden of proof when you make that positive assertion.)

    I say we should shun you, for your completely idiotic ideas that will do nothing but further embolden the misogynists in our culture. When put into practice, no shunning will embolden those vile elements of our society. In effect, you are aiding and abetting those misogynists. You are either with us, or you are against us. Either you are a decent human being and will speak out against misogyny and shun misogynists when they refuse to change, or you are a misogynist in effect.

    This other conversation about radical atheists, radical feminists, etc., is simply a non-sequitur. I never brought it up, and you keep trying to change the conversation to that. Fuck that. You can both speak out against misogynists and against crazy radical feminists. There’s a quite large happy middle ground, and I wish you would join it.

    I grow tired with your games.

  151. Earnest says

    It’s telling that you didn’t answer any of my challenges of you misrepresenting me. I’ll take that as a concession that you did actually misrepresent me. Your lack of apology or regret is telling also.

    Since we’re talking about vile human behaviors, I find the inability to admit a mistake or own up to it to be vile.

    “You’re pretty good at trolling. You have just enough ambiguity and vagueness to insinuate your points while being able to weasel out of them. I am impressed.”

    So let me get this straight. You pull some position out of your ass, attribute it to me, do some mudslinging, and somehow it’s my fault for “being too vague or ambiguous.”

    “You see, an honest person wouldn’t need to hide behind ambiguity, and when confronted with an accidental or purposeful missphrasing of his position, he would take that opportunity to clarify in detail what his position actually is. Thus far, you have not.”

    Not sure what you would call this then: http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2014/07/19/an-observation-on-the-concept-of-callout-culture/#comment-263228

    I find it interesting that you made a point to mention purposeful mis-phrasings. Are you purposefully mis-phrasing my positions?

    “You say that we shouldn’t shun people online, or at least it shouldn’t be the default.”

    God this is so close, I almost want to give you credit for it, but my position is actually that, “You should not otherize/shun/shame someone simply on the basis that you disagree with them.” Pay special attention to the emphasis. As I later clarified, this is specifically in the forums dedicated to skepticism, free thought, and rational discourse.

    Please reread: simply on the basis that you disagree with them.

    “You say that education of facts in online discussions is effective at changing the minds of misogynists.”

    I didn’t bring up the specific example of misogynists, but I think education of facts can be effective in changing many kinds of immoral beliefs, especially if the person is open minded and skeptical. If not, perhaps they can be taught to care about skepticism and reason, THEN be taught about morality.

    “(You also bitch about the burden of proof when you make that positive assertion.)”

    No I bitched about the burden of proof when you took my claim and provided a counter-claim of “ONLY shaming is effective in changing people’s minds about their immoral ideas.” Then basically said “prove my anecdotal evidence fueled position wrong with studies that i won’t believe.”

    IF you wanted me to demonstrate that you can teach morality, all you had to do was ask, but you don’t seem rational enough to remove yourself from your dogmatic position if facts are presented to you.

    “I say we should shun you, for your completely idiotic ideas”

    Oh gosh, I don’t think we should be so hasty as to do anything based on your understanding of my ideas. LOL. Let’s get rid of the whole “you misunderstanding/misrepresenting almost everything I say” problem before we start relying on your judgement for anything. So far so good in this reply though. Only 2 minor misrepresentations. Although you conveniently neglect addressing or apologizing for the previous 20 or so I’m not holding my breath that you’ll learn any time soon.

    “You are either with us, or you are against us.”

    False dilemma. What about indifference? What about being uninterested? What about inability to be either? The true dilemma would be “with us or not with us”. You’re equating being “not with us” with being “against us.” In the context of Atheism+, can you demonstrate that?

    ” Either you are a decent human being and will speak out against misogyny and shun misogynists when they refuse to change, or you are a misogynist in effect.”

    Another false dichotomy. Either you speak out against misogynists, or you are one? Care to demonstrate this framework in any way?

    “This other conversation about radical atheists, radical feminists, etc., is simply a non-sequitur. I never brought it up, and you keep trying to change the conversation to that.”

    LOL you’re so silly. This isn’t “the other conversation”. This is the conversation I started with. You came in, derailed it to a conversation about misogyny, racism, nazism, and MRAs!

    It’s interesting that you admit that “you never brought it up”. You’re basically admitting that you haven’t even addressed the original criticism of radicals that was my original post. It seems the entire conversation has been agenda driven since the beginning instead of trying to engage in what I was arguing. It’s all so clear to me now.

    “You can both speak out against misogynists and against crazy radical feminists. There’s a quite large happy middle ground, and I wish you would join it.”

    Sure, I’ll join it. I’m against crazy radical feminists and misogynists! Now, back to the actual conversation.

  152. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Please reread: simply on the basis that you disagree with them.

    Ok. How about on the basis that I disagree with them, and their views are morally heinous, noxious, and harmful to society? Is that good enough to ban and shun, and require that others do so as well?

  153. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also, I think we got really off track on a bunch of tangents, and half of the time I’m not even sure what we’re talking about anymore. If you want some direct questions answered, please repost them, and I’ll answer. However, when you write this:

    It’s telling that you didn’t answer any of my challenges of you misrepresenting me. I’ll take that as a concession that you did actually misrepresent me. Your lack of apology or regret is telling also.

    You’re just being difficult, and that demotivates me from engaging. I think our central contention is adequately captured with my above post.

  154. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ok. How about on the basis that I disagree with them, and their views are morally heinous, noxious, and harmful to society? Is that good enough to ban and shun, and require that others do so as well?

    Let me rephrase: How about on the basis that their views are clearly demonstrably morally wrong, heinous, noxious, and harmful to society, beyond any reasonable doubt? Examples include racism, sexism, Nazism. Is that a good enough reason to ban and shun, and require that others ban and shun?

  155. Earnest says

    Let me rephrase: How about on the basis that their views are clearly demonstrably morally wrong, heinous, noxious, and harmful to society, beyond any reasonable doubt? Examples include racism, sexism, Nazism. Is that a good enough reason to ban and shun, and require that others ban and shun?

    Maybe. Sometimes. Maybe a lot of the times. It seems highly situational. I typically don’t come up with a tried and true method of placing people in a group and then pre-deciding how I’m going to handle them or their ideas. I try to identify people as individuals instead of some preconceived notion I have about groups that share their same ideology. I decide how best to address them as I am trying to understand their position.

    It would be highly dependent on things like the forum the discussion is taking place on or the severity of their views. It would also depend on the person I was discussing with. Are they 100% dogmatic in their views, or are they reasonable to any degree. If so how much?

    Do I think ending a conversation with someone or banning someone are acceptable in certain situations? Yes.

    Shaming? In the most severe of cases, yes.

  156. Earnest says

    Before you respond, I would like to invite you to go back to the stem of this whole thread, in which I lay out the context of what we’re talking about.

    Atheism +. Radical factions of otherwise reasonable positions. This also occurs within radical men’s rights groups, nazi groups, religious groups. Nearly every group I can think of!

    Groups in which ANY disagreement is seen as support for the opposition. That’s what “you’re with us or against us” means. When someone says non-threateningly says “I don’t agree” and they are subsequently shamed without further discussion or inquiry. Rational discourse is dead on arrival if that’s your rule of thumb for every situation.

    Which, is in fact, what has happened in this thread. Look back at your responses. Before you even had a chance to evaluate my position proper, you attempted the shaming tactic. What good did that do but lead us on wild goose chases where I had to wade neck deep in your response to find you rebutting anything of what I actually advocate?

    When we finally land on the grounds upon which we disagree, I find that it’s not that much, ideologically. The big difference is that you advocate a method that breeds misunderstanding. “Disagree with me? Well then I will pigeonhole your comments into a position which you don’t hold, but which makes you look like those other people who disagree with me who are CLEARLY wrong.”

    Within this, we find the straw man run rampant. Fallacy of irrelevancy in the form of (unsupported) ad homs. False dichotomies everywhere.

    This very discussion is an example of what I am against. It is when we find people that disagree with us that we should immediately take a step back and become even more skeptical of our position. Fortify it if it stands up, then go on the offensive. Reactionary discussion is unthoughtful discussion. It’s not a discussion for skeptics. It’s irrational discussion.

  157. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Atheism +. Radical factions of otherwise reasonable positions. This also occurs within radical men’s rights groups, nazi groups, religious groups. Nearly every group I can think of!

    Not where I sit. AFAIK, most bloggers on this network identify as atheist+ (or used to before the term fell out of vogue). What’s so radical about the tenants of atheism+? Basically it’s atheism, plus skepticism, humanism, feminism, etc.

    Groups in which ANY disagreement is seen as support for the opposition.

    And again, this is simply not descriptive of the communities I see which use the term feminist and atheist+. If your guide to atheism+ and feminism is Tumblr, reddit, or 4chan, then that might be your problem. Those communities are widely known to be trolls and nothing but trolls, and you shouldn’t take anything you see there seriously. Similarly, I have been told of one particular online forum calling itself the atheism+ forum, and they may have went off the deep end as you suggest, but again that’s a very small portion of the online (and offline) community which identifies as atheism+.

    It is frankly ridiculous to say that atheism+ is radical like the radical groups “within radical men’s rights groups, nazi groups, religious groups”.

    It is also absurd to compare feminism and atheism+ to those groups. Nearly all self-identified MRAs are misogynist asshats, with only a small community of reasonable people. I didn’t realize that Nazism is anything but a “radical” group of racists – are you suggesting otherwise? Are you suggesting that there is an identifiable core in Nazism which are reasonable, nice people? What the fuck? — Feminism and atheism+ communities by and large are far more reasonable than MRAs, Nazis (fucking Nazis – seriously?), and religious groups.

    The big difference is that you advocate a method that breeds misunderstanding.

    No, it does not. I explain what feminism is, and what atheism+ is, and then you ignore that definition, stick your head in the sand, and make supremely absurd comparisons between atheism+ and Nazism (again wtf).

  158. Earnest says

    “What’s so radical about the tenants of atheism+? Basically it’s atheism, plus skepticism, humanism, feminism, etc.”

    Plus “if you’re not with us you’re against us! And an asshole!” Seems a bit radical, kind of hateful, and logically flawed.

    I said,

    “Groups in which ANY disagreement is seen as support for the opposition.”

    To which you responded

    “And again, this is simply not descriptive of the communities I see which use the term feminist and atheist+.”

    I need only to point to the many multitudes in which you misunderstood my disagreement with you as supporting a platform to Nazis, MRAs, and anti-feminists. None of which you could substantiate was any part of my disagreement.

    Thus my later comment,

    “The big difference is that you advocate a method that breeds misunderstanding.”

    Oh look, you don’t even have to look back into the comments. Here’s a misunderstanding IN THE VERY POST I’M REPLYING TOO:

    “Are you suggesting that there is an identifiable core in Nazism which are reasonable, nice people? What the fuck?”

    Can you explain how you extrapolated that from what I said? It’s the “us vs. them” mentality that desperately keeps you trying to paint me as some sort of Nazi sympathizer or something. It breeds misunderstanding.

    The only comparison I made is that radical factions exist within nearly every ideological group. I didn’t specify the sizes of those radical factions. It could be the case (like in nazism) that the entire IDEOLOGY is a “radical faction” of the broader idea of anti-humanism. All I stated is that radicalism breeds misunderstanding, and that it is present in almost any ideological group that I can think of, and that is present in this very conversation for anyone to see.

    I explain what feminism is, and what atheism+ is, and then you ignore that definition, stick your head in the sand…

    Your understanding of feminism is great and I understand that also. There are radical feminists though. I never claimed that ALL feminism was radical.

    As far as Atheism+, I established earlier that it’s not really “a single thing”. It’s still relatively new, and has even fallen out of use quite a bit. It does seem that it was thrust into the light with some major proponents arguing for the radical leanings I criticized earlier. Calling someone an asshole or douchebag just for disagreeing with you or for not wanting to identify as “Atheism +”, painting them as “the enemy”.

    If that brand of Atheism + isn’t yours, then I probably have no problem with you subscribing to that stated definition of Atheism + you use. I’m for social justice. I’m for feminism. I’m for skepticism, and fighting racism and homophobia.

    But we can’t deny that there are those that pile on the baggage of radical dogma, party line towing, and shaming, and to me, that seems to be a main thrust of the initial movement.

    I find that attitude to be illogical, hate fueled, a solid framework for misunderstanding and just personally “not me”. Not to mention there are better arguments to be made for those issues that threats.

  159. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Did you or did you not compare atheism+ to Nazism? Do you stand by that comparison?

  160. Earnest says

    Defensive much? You know, just because you don’t agree with me doesn’t mean I’m trying to equate you to a Nazi. That would be a radical point of view. :-)

    Also, not to be nitpicky, but you can compare two unlike things without equating them. I don’t think you meant “compare”. I think you meant to use the word “equate”, maybe. For example a comparison between apples and oranges might consist of noting their different colors. That would be a comparison, but not equating them.

    It seems like you would have a problem with my position if I were equating Atheism+ to Nazism, not if I were simply comparing them. Comparing Atheism+ with Nazism wouldn’t necessarily be equating the two.

    Nevertheless, I was not equating them, either. I was comparing (and equating) the radical “with us or against us” dogmatic ideology that a group of Atheism+ers hold with the same ideology in other radical groups. And I was equating that specific mindset. Not the overall ideology.

    It’s like saying oak trees and ants are living things. I don’t have to equate the entire object in order to equate similar qualities.

  161. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    This is going nowhere. I fully embrace the “with us or against us” attitude. “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.”

  162. AhmNee says

    I fully embrace the “with us or against us” attitude. “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.”

    Not equivalent at all. “with us or against us” is more like “all it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to not do what I (and my compatriots) think they should be doing”.

  163. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Weird. Was unable to post yesterday.

    @AhmNee
    Are you making a general point? I was trying to make a very specific point, that either you are for fair and equal treatment of the sexes and genders, or you are not a decent human being. Which means all decent human beings are feminists. Then, I argue that staying silent and “neutral” in all cases, choosing to not speak out when you could, let’s sexism flourish, and you cannot be a decent human being without speaking out at least a little sometimes in favor of feminism.

  164. Athywren says

    The point remains: as usual, people want to have their cake and to eat it, too, with woman free to pursue their happiness (and not be forced to date men they find repulsive! Ewww, he’s icky!), but then act surprised when the loser acts out and kills.

    I know I’m going back a couple of weeks in responding to this comment, but… seriously? You’re asking for evidence that misogyny exists (fine, that widespread misogyny is an element of American culture) but you don’t think women should be surprised when they’re killed for rejecting a man? The fuck?
    I’ve rejected a few women in my time, not a huge number, but enough that I’d be considered an evil misandrist bitch if I was a woman and they were men. Not only would I be surprised if I was killed by one of them – because that would be an extreme reaction that no reasonable society would tolerate, let alone expect – I’m actually friends with most of them.
    You’re saying that, if the tables were turned and I was the one being rejected, then those women live in a society which is so permissive of the murder of women that they should not be surprised to see me “act out” and kill them? Yet you want to see proof that widespread misogyny is an issue?
    We don’t even have to bring up the widespread attacks on women’s rights over their own bodies in America (nor do we need to point out that equivalent attacks in other countries have already caused two needless deaths that we know of). We don’t need to point to wage inequalities (which even studies held up as proof that there is no gap show is a real problem), nor to the ways in which women are undermined in daily life.
    We live in a world where women should not be surprised if they are murdered for rejecting a man. A world where women should legitimately fear death if a man approaches them for sex or a relationship. I don’t know about you, but I see that as a problem, as a society that literally hates women, and I want no part of it.

    As a fun side note, I love how you guys always manage to bring misandry into play when you so often accuse feminists of it. Men are such pathetic animals that rejection can send us over the edge into a killing frenzy (and this is totally not a sign of misogyny)? Dudes… #notallmen.

  165. AhmNee says

    That is kinda weird. Welcome back, EL.

    I think I’ve started a reply about a dozen times now. I’m not comfortable criticizing feminism probably because I was raised by a single, (quite possibly radical) feminist mother. Because of that, I was given a good share of respect for feminism and no small amount of disdain for it as well.

    The core of feminism, the search for equality. That in my opinion, sound and good. But that isn’t the only agenda that is brought forward by modern feminism. I recently had an discussion with my mother that seems to relate. She’d posted a quote from Susan B. Anthony. “I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand.” A friend of hers quipped something along the lines of “what am I good for, then”. To which she responded, “To walk beside her & pick up the pieces when she is through with the smart a$$e$ !!! ha ha ha”. I asked, “Not assist? Not have her back but clean up after her?” To which she responded in the affirmative. This wasn’t surprising of me because my mother had never been the kind of feminist to espouse a desire for equality. My mother has always maintained the superiority of women. A firm believer in what is my earliest memory of her feminist mantra, “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.” (Charlotte Whitton)

    My mother is not alone in not simply wanting equality, but wanting the roles to reverse. While I agree with the core of feminism and I want to see women treated fairly and equally, her feminism I cannot get behind. The same with the group of feminists from the University of Toronto who pulled a fire alarm to disrupt a “men’s issues” talk being held. The same as the people I’ve seen attacked for being skeptical or unconvinced that “rape culture” is really a thing. Or Greta Christina’s call to shun “The Amazing Atheist”, it appears, in perpetuity with what seems to be very little context beyond “he said some horrible things sometime somewhere on the internets”. (This is actually something I’m planning to question there but I’ve just been reading to this point. As I alluded, this is just not an area I like to jump into half cocked) http://tinyurl.com/lm3a6ln

    Just like the criticism atheists level at christians and muslims. The moderates must be willing to condemn the lunatic fringes of their group or be ready when perceived to hold the same ideals from the outside. Feminism, as well, cannot fall back on the No True Scotsman fallacy. Criticism, if it is to be taken seriously, must come from within to keep it from being driven by the edges of it’s ideology.

    Feminism isn’t like atheism. You can be an non-skeptical atheist. While atheism has a movement, it isn’t a movement. Feminism is a movement. So, I can agree with feminism and not “be” one. Really, it still seems odd to hear men call themselves feminists, though that’s could be due to those biases I discussed above. In short, I’m not with you (feminists) but I’m not against you either. In many of feminism’s aims, in me they have a staunch ally. In others, I cannot and do not condone their rhetoric. Even in cases when I do not condone, nor do I necessarily oppose it.

  166. AhmNee says

    For clarity “You can be an non-skeptical atheist.” was written with the idea that the “atheist movement” is really more a movement for rationalism and skepticism than it is for atheism. That didn’t translate from my brain very well. Atheism is a state of being or belief. Feminism is a movement. If I believe the genders are equal, I am not by definition a feminist.

  167. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    If I believe the genders are equal, I am not by definition a feminist.

    Debatable, as I have been debating, but I’ll refrain. This is just an argument over terms. I’m much more concerned with whether you are for equal treatment / consideration of women in society, and whether you are ever willing to speak up for that. The label matters less.

    Of course, if you start dissing the label, then I’ll have a problem, just like I had a problem with Neil deGrasse Tyson when he dissed the “atheist” label and spoke falsehoods about the “atheist” label.

  168. AhmNee says

    Debatable, as I have been debating, but I’ll refrain.

    Indeed. I don’t think we need to reconcile that because as you say, the really important part is where one stands on equality. In that you and I are in accord. Everyone deserves a seat at the table and deserves to treated with the same respect that one would expect to be treated with (+20% to correct for subjective error).

  169. Earnest says

    Hey EL,

    Sorry it has taken a few days to get back with you, but you didn’t seem interested in continuing anyways. I have been thinking about what you said and I honestly don’t see the benefit of the “with us or against us mentality”. I tried to weigh the pros and cons and I found way more cons, and maybe no pros at all.

    As Ahmee pointed out, saying “you’re with us or against us” isn’t equivalent to being against good people doing nothing. You can still be against that, and still not hold to “you’re with us or against us

    I’ll give you what I found to be the pros and cons of this methodology.

    Cons

    1. On it’s face, in plain reading, it’s a logical fallacy. It’s a false dichotomy. By default, anything resting on this idea is highly suspect because of the logical error. Think of this as it applies to nearly anything else. Either you’re a feminist, or you’re against feminist. Either you’re an atheist, or you’re against atheism. Either you are an animal rights activist, or you’re against animal rights activism. Either you donate money to help feed kids in Africa, or you’re against donating money to help feed kids in Africa.

    2. Because of this, you’re prone to strawmanning anyone who disagrees with you. This is because you put them in a box that they may not fall into. This is evident in our discussions.

    3. It causes confusion, sure, but another biproduct is that it can cause you to misjudge someone’s position as immoral, and then shame/shun/ban someone on the basis of your own misunderstanding. The world needs less of this.

    4. Risk of dogmatic ideologies forming. This goes without saying, really, and as nonreligious people, this should frighten us.

    Pros

    1. One potential benefit to this is that in some cases, you make accurate assumptions and ban/shun/shame the people deserving of it. But a broken clock is still right 2 times a day.

    2. Another perceived benefit I can see is that you might shame someone out of an irrational position. But then they would only be holding a position on the basis of shame and pressure instead of it being rational. It’s like people that don’t believe in God because a pastor was mean to them. Great, they might have the “right” conclusion, but based on what?

    3. Lastly, another perceived benefit is that it makes the owner of the ideology feel some sort of moral superiority or high ground. If you can dismiss someone on the basis that they disagree with you, you put yourself in a seemingly strong position of authority. It feels good, but it’s not helpful.

    There are other ways of approaching discussion and disagreement that don’t fall prey to the illogical underpinnings of “you’re with us or you’re against us.” You can still moderate forums, refuse to engage in discussion with people that hold particularly harmful ideologies, etc while being logical, clear, and understanding.

  170. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Earnest

    As Ahmee pointed out, saying “you’re with us or against us” isn’t equivalent to being against good people doing nothing. You can still be against that, and still not hold to “you’re with us or against us

    Really? I don’t see that in what AhmNee wrote. I saw a large, and well written, treatise on why the word “feminist” means more than someone who is for equal consideration and treatment of the sexes. Suppose we could just ask him. AhmNee?

    Otherwise, your position seems to be a fundamental disagreement with the moral Aesop of “all it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing”. You seem entirely fine with giving a pass to people who refuse to speak up, ever, when injustice is done. I am not. I don’t think much more needs to be said.

    PS: Of course, depending on the circumstances, if it is dangerous, or highly inconveniencing, to speak out, then I don’t ask that. The moral Aesop is not to always speak out no matter the consequences. Similarly, I don’t ask people give their time to any particular cause. Our time is finite and precious. Instead, the moral Aesop is against apathy and indifference. It’s saying that some kinds of silence are taken as tacit approval.

  171. AhmNee says

    What I think my point was is that I don’t have to identify with a group to support that group. And I don’t have to share every one of another person or group’s convictions to be an ally.
     
    For example, I don’t have to be convinced that “rape culture” is a thing to believe that the rape statistics in this country are more than a little troubling and something should be done about it. And I can work with someone who is convinced that “rape culture” exists to take action to reduce victimization without sharing that same conviction.
     
    Still, there are people that hold the “with us or against us” belief that if one doesn’t believe that “rape culture” exists, then that person is “rape cultured” or supports “rape culture”.

  172. Earnest says

    Really? I don’t see that in what AhmNee wrote.

    I was referring to when Ahmee said this:

    Not equivalent at all. “with us or against us” is more like “all it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to not do what I (and my compatriots) think they should be doing”.

    I was referring to the above when I said “As Ahmee pointed out, saying “you’re with us or against us” isn’t equivalent to being against good people doing nothing.”

    Next, you say this.

    Otherwise, your position seems to be a fundamental disagreement with the moral Aesop of “all it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing”. You seem entirely fine with giving a pass to people who refuse to speak up, ever, when injustice is done.

    Emphasis mine.

    You seem to be making a lot of statements about my position without me actually holding those positions. LOL lost count of it at this point. I’ve never advocated for “doing nothing” against evil nor for “giving a pass to people who refuse to speak up, ever, when injustice is done.” Straight up pulled out of your ass, and I have to call you on that.

    I would like to point out and quote a previous reply I made, which I think made my position on the matter of handling disagreements quite clear

    It seems highly situational. I typically don’t come up with a tried and true method of placing people in a group and then pre-deciding how I’m going to handle them or their ideas. I try to identify people as individuals instead of some preconceived notion I have about groups that share their same ideology. I decide how best to address them as I am trying to understand their position.
    It would be highly dependent on things like the forum the discussion is taking place on or the severity of their views. It would also depend on the person I was discussing with. Are they 100% dogmatic in their views, or are they reasonable to any degree. If so how much?
    Do I think ending a conversation with someone or banning someone are acceptable in certain situations? Yes.
    Shaming? In the most severe of cases, yes.

    For clarity’s sake again. I’m against the illogical, and thus confusion breeding, ideology that you hold to. “With us or against us” is literally causing you to make bad conclusions about my position on such a constant basis, I could probably set my clock by it. You take my disagreement with your position as, “therefore Earnest holds positions, x, y, z” based entirely on a fallacious false dichotomy approach to discussion and rational thinking.

    So yeah, I’m not in that camp with you. Sorry.

    Equal rights for all, regardless of gender identity, race, sexual identities, yes!
    Equal treatment for all based on merit alone, YES!
    This whole, confusing, illogical ideology tacked on to it? No thanks.

  173. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Earnest

    This whole, confusing, illogical ideology tacked on to it? No thanks.

    What’s confusing about demanding that people not be apathetic and cowards? What’s confusing about demanding people work to improve things?

    I don’t know why I’ve wasted so much time on you. You type so much, without saying anything. You have no position, and that might be because you are a moral coward.

    PS:

    illogical

    You keep using that word, but I do not think that you know what it means.

  174. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PPS: Thanks AhmNee for confirming that I can understand English. Apparently Earnest cannot. ><

  175. Athywren says

    This whole, confusing, illogical ideology tacked on to it? No thanks.

    You know, I find it interesting that so many people who’re opposed to feminism find it confusing and illogical. Personally, I found it quite simple and reasonable. I do see people confused by it, of course, but so far they’ve all been those whose information about feminism comes from anti-feminist (and thus, not necessarily impartial) sources.
    I find it’s easier to understand feminism, and see how the reasoning works, if you pay attention to what’s actually being said by feminists, and concentrate less on what you’re being told by the people who claim that feminists are nazi-communist man-haters.

  176. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Athywren
    Now now, to be fair, that’s not what Earnest is saying. He’s saying he finds it confusing and illogical to ask / demand that people stop being apathetic, start giving a damn, and sometimes even helping out the cause of equality of the sexes (and every other good political goal).

    We’re not having a conversation about feminism anymore. We’re having a conversation about apathy and indifference.

    I was reminded of this quote from my favorite movie ever:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0144117/quotes
    (From a priest, during a sermon to the churchgoers):

    Monsignor: And I am reminded, on this holy day, of the sad story of Kitty Genovese. As you all may remember, a long time ago, almost thirty years ago, this poor soul cried out for help time and time again, but no person answered her calls. Though many saw, no one so much as called the police. They all just watched as Kitty was being stabbed to death in broad daylight. They watched as her assailant walked away. Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.

  177. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal:
    Ehh, that movie quote needs an asterisk.
     
    Article: Wikipedia – Murder of Kitty Genovese, Public Reaction

    However, a 2007 study found many of the purported facts about the murder to be unfounded.
     
    [… see the article for details, snipped for brevity …]
     
    Nevertheless, media attention to the Genovese murder led to reform of the NYPD’s telephone reporting system […] The intense press coverage also led to serious investigation of the bystander effect by psychologists and sociologists. In addition, some communities organized neighborhood watch programs

    In September 2007, the American Psychologist published an examination of the factual basis of coverage of the Kitty Genovese murder in psychology textbooks. The three authors concluded that the story is more parable than fact, largely because of inaccurate newspaper coverage at the time of the incident.

    Nevertheless, bystander effect is still a thing, so your point is still stands.

  178. Athywren says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal

    Oh… right… well… in that case my only response is a kind of baffled silence.
    I’ve heard some interesting defences of apathy before… I think the best, or funniest one was when a guy, who was claiming to be neutral on the issue, told the LGBT community (or, at least, those who could read his comments) to shut up and stop “bickering with old people,” and that things would then be better in a generation or two. Fun times.

  179. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @CompulsoryAccount7746
    I was completely unaware that the fiction movie was describing a real event. My bad.

  180. Earnest says

    What’s confusing about demanding that people not be apathetic and cowards? What’s confusing about demanding people work to improve things?

    Nothing. And I’m absolutely right there with you on this. It’s when you add the caveat of “or else you’re x, y, and z” that it becomes a logical fallacy (false dichotomy) and causes YOU to be confused about someone else’s stance or position on a given topic (leading to straw men).

    I’m not with that.

    Now now, to be fair, that’s not what Earnest is saying.

    Hey, thanks for that. :-) I appreciate it.

    He’s saying he finds it confusing and illogical to ask / demand that people stop being apathetic, start giving a damn, and sometimes even helping out the cause of equality of the sexes (and every other good political goal).

    Not quite. Like I said, I’m with you on asking (and sometimes demanding) that people not be apathetic about important moral issues. I’m saying that if you automatically assume anyone not on your side is literally against you on the issue, you’re basing your understanding on a logical fallacy (false dichotomy) which then leads you to misunderstand them and likely straw man them.

    That kind of radical way of judging someone’s position often leads to radical misunderstandings. I’m not with it.

    Also, are you implying that apathy is more harmful than people actively working against a cause?

    You’ve mentioned 2 quotes now that seem to imply this, but I’m not sure you can give me a real life example of this that I would agree with. In the story of Kitty Genovese, are you implying that the people standing by are somehow worse than the man who actually stabbed her, or even equally evil?

    I would never in a million years defend the apathetic bystanders in that situation. I would be on your side in calling those people shitty, but I would also never equate their lack of action to the action of stabbing someone.

    What you’re advocating is the equivalent of saying that the bystanders are, not only, in favor of stabbing but also stabbers themselves! Does not compute.

  181. Earnest says

    Also, going back through and reading the earlier posts and rejogging my memory, this all started when I was making the point of distinguishing between “not feminist” and “MRA”, specifically.

    You brought up apathy. Would you equate someone apathetic to feminism with a Men’s Rights Activist?

  182. Earnest says

    Actually, I think I brought up apathy (indifference specifically). Doesn’t matter either way. I just didn’t want to misattribute.

  183. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I don’t even know what the fuck you are saying any more.

    I’m saying that if you automatically assume anyone not on your side is literally against you on the issue,

    This is a strawman of my position. You would know this if you read what I wrote.

    Also, are you implying that apathy is more harmful than people actively working against a cause?

    I don’t know. I don’t want to rank evil in this case. IMHO, the quotes are more to remind us that apathy is comparable in evil to people with evil intents.

    What you’re advocating is the equivalent of saying that the bystanders are, not only, in favor of stabbing but also stabbers themselves! Does not compute.

    Then you do not understand. You are purposefully thick. That’s not what was said. What was said is that without people standing up to evil, evil will flourish. No more, no less. I don’t understand what’s so hard to grasp about this concept.

  184. Earnest says

    This is a strawman of my position.

    Then can you explain what you mean by “with us, or against us?” Doesn’t that phrase mean that there are literally only two categories you can put people in, in regard to your position? For example, either someone is on your side, in regards to feminism, or they are literally against feminism.

    That’s not what was said. What was said is that without people standing up to evil, evil will flourish. No more, no less.

    Eh, I disagree. “You’re with us, or against us” is saying WAAAY more than just “you’re allowing evil to flourish”. Right?

    You are purposefully thick.

    Look, I understand that your position of “with us or against us” looks foolish now, so you want to retreat to “apathy allows evil to flourish” (which I agree with). But don’t go using ad homs, crying straw man, and try to act like I’m all the sudden misunderstanding you, when I’m still attacking “with us or against us”.

    Just admit you want to distance yourself from that clearly ignorant position, and we can move on.

  185. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Eh, I disagree. “You’re with us, or against us” is saying WAAAY more than just “you’re allowing evil to flourish”. Right?

    At first glance, I wouldn’t say there’s a meaningful difference. What are you getting at? What important difference do you see?

    Obviously, I hold people who commit evil as more morally culpable than those who permit evil to happen by apathy, but I still hold apathetic people morally culpable to some degree. At the end of the day though, both are morally culpable for letting whatever evil X happen, some just more than others.

    Then can you explain what you mean by “with us, or against us?” Doesn’t that phrase mean that there are literally only two categories you can put people in, in regard to your position? For example, either someone is on your side, in regards to feminism, or they are literally against feminism.

    Either you think that women should be treated as equals to men, or you don’t.
    Either you are willing to act on this to try and make that a reality, or you never do.
    Then, either you think feminist is merely that, or you think it’s something more. This to me is not the important question.

    You’re conflating a lot in that quote.

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