Quantcast

«

»

Jul 16 2012

Dividing bridges

Kristjan Wager has a good post on the Deep Rifts. He’d rather have the rifts than no rifts at the price of entrenched sexism.

So, to sum it up, there are deep rifts in the movement, and I think it is fine. Not only that, I feel more comfortable being in a smaller community within the movement, which doesn’t include people whose opinions and behavior I find repugnant. I can still appreciate the good work done by those people (like I did with e.g. Hitchens) without wanting to be part of the same community.

Fewer but better Russians. (I kid, I kid.)

Massimo Pigliucci also has a good post, although he does do the “both sides” thing, which given what a big chunk of the other side is like, really isn’t as reasonable as it might sound to a novice.

Oh wait, no he doesn’t, or at least he clarifies in a comment that that’s not what he meant. I’ll leave the above paragraph because there are people who think that is what he meant, so this will perhaps help.

Here’s his clarification:

there may be a misunderstanding here about what my call for moderation concerns. Of course there is no moderate position to be held about sexism (or racism, for that matter): it’s bad, period.
But there is moderation to be called for in how we talk and act about it. The example in question here, discussed by Russell Blackford in the post I linked to above, is AA’s overly reaching “no-hugs” policy, which – it can be argued – doesn’t really address the actual issue and potentially undermines a sense of community by attempting to over-regulate normal human interactions.

Sure. Specifics can be discussed, calmly and reasonably. (I’ve been staying out of those discussions, because honestly I don’t know enough about the subject to have a useful opinion. I was invited to participate in the conference call with American Atheists to discuss their policy, but I wasn’t available at the right time – which is just as well.) Specifics can be discussed, calmly and reasonably – which includes not calling people Talibanesque or Femistasi.

12 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Kausik Datta

    Specifics can be discussed, calmly and reasonably – which includes not calling people Talibanesque or Femistasi.

    But, but… If you take away the trolls’ ability to name-call people they disagree with, you’re effectively taking away the wind from their sails! How else would they reach the sound of their collective whines to distant shores?

    Surely you don’t mean they’d have to use -Gasp!- reasoned arguments! With evidence!

  2. 2
    Sili

    If you take away the trolls’ ability to name-call people

    you’re a bully.

  3. 3
    davidmc

    Ophelia,

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/07/16/eclipsed/

    Thats not too bad is it
    (in a manc accent) Nice one, sorted.

  4. 4
    Kausik Datta

    Sili,
    Surely you mean ‘FTBullies’?

  5. 5
    sambarge

    Kristjan Wagner: “I’d rather have two communities than be part of a community which finds sexism and outright misogynistic behavior acceptable.”

    This. To be honest, although I’ve considered myself an atheist since I was 8 yrs old, I’ve never wanted to be part of any online community of atheists before because of the casual misogyny/sexism (well, and the shocking racism I witnessed from posters at the old Richard Dawkins board). It’s really only now, when I can identify the skeptics/atheists who think that sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. is bad and that social justice is good, that I feel comfortable or interested in the discussion.

    Just because someone doesn’t believe in God, it doesn’t mean that we agree on anything else.

  6. 6
    michaeld

    Indeed I’d much prefer quality then quantity in our community.

    As to the hugging I see no problem with the suggestion in the policy as is. If the policy is weak in other areas better to patch those aspects then worry about a suggestion to ask people before touching them.

  7. 7
    Smhlle

    I didn’t like Massimo P’s suggestion that it would be sad if some poor woman couldn’t get flirted with enough because men were inhibited by the wording of a harassment policy. This does not seem tragic to me, and besides, it is pretty easy to remedy. Because of this point, I feel he was still failing to grasp that unwanted sexual attention is an issue for many women within the A-S movement.

  8. 8
    601

    I think Pigliucci (and Blackford) suffer from a severe case of metabolics, endemic to philosophy.

    Because they meta-understand meta-everything, they can’t be real-wrong, by definition. Any criticism of their position is considered merely a different philosophy.

    “Not better than you, just different, in a good way.”

    Additionally, the feigned concern over flirting etiquette is transparent bullshit. If your favourite seduction techniques are all listed in the harassment policy, then you are the problem.

    In fact, “Would you like to review the flirting guidelines with me?” sounds like a smooth opener.

  9. 9
    Martha

    @sambarge #5: Exactly the way I feel, too. I’ve never understood why some atheists see liberal religious humanists as allies at best, while seeing Ayn Rand acolytes as fellow travelers. For me, it’s the other way around. We need a positive to work toward: a secular public sphere that values human life rather than a world that simply rejects the supernatural. Not believing is the easy part; living a worthwhile life is the part that takes thought and community.

  10. 10
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    I agree with Sambarge and Martha.

    Great post, Kristjan. Too bad it drew a particularly stupid MRA, but that’s par for the course, I guess.

  11. 11
    Kristjan Wager

    Well, Daisy, I would have expected a slimepitter by now, but luckily none have turned up – just the run-of-the-mill MRA guy.

    Not that a slimepitter’s comment would be likely to make it through moderation.

  12. 12
    proxer

    michaeld,

    As to the hugging I see no problem with the suggestion in the policy as is. If the policy is weak in other areas better to patch those aspects then worry about a suggestion to ask people before touching them.

    I think that it’s a poorly-thought-out recommendation, and is poorly worded on top of that. It should just be removed; there’s no additional protection afforded women with it in place, and it introduces a lot of confusion about social expectations. Other conferences don’t have such policies and are still effective at eliminating and reporting harassment.

    How long does it take to strike a useless rule?

    Smhlle,

    Because of this point, I feel he was still failing to grasp that unwanted sexual attention is an issue for many women within the A-S movement.

    Massimo went to some lengths to show that he does grasp this fact. His point is that part of the AA policy is just misguided. A smaller divide in the “FtB” side centers on the fact that some feminists can’t accept that a feminist might legitimately find fault with the AA policy, while still fully comprehending the problems of unwanted sexual attention and fully supporting effective methods for eliminating those problems.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>