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A vocal contingent of extremely hateful people

Part 7 in Amy’s series: Matt Dillahunty.

Matt’s piece has the considerable virtue of being specific – of actually saying what the problem is.

He notes that a lot of people are just confused or uninformed about these issues.

Unfortunately, there’s also a vocal contingent of extremely hateful people who aren’t willing to honestly engage in the discussion and they’ve been venting – if not simply trolling. When there’s an expressed concern, or a proposed solution to a concern, they frequently respond with cartoonish arguments loaded with fallacies but the more disturbing responses simply include hateful threats of rape and violence.

These individuals are beneath contempt. They’re not just misinformed or mistaken, they’re malicious little thugs who are lashing out in response to the fear that someone might actually expect them to treat another human being with respect. They aren’t decent people disagreeing, they’re part of the problem. We don’t have to exclude them from these conversations; they’ve excluded themselves.

Yes them! Those are the ones we mean.

Read the whole thing.

 

Comments

  1. Brad says

    Reminds me of some of the material from Newsroom. If you have HBO, you should watch it. If you don’t have HBO, you should still watch it. “At some point” I’ll leave how as an exercise for the reader.

  2. says

    Matt Dillahunty (#thugs)

    They aren’t decent people disagreeing, they’re part of the problem.

    Quite true, and this presents a meta problem, as they cannot be reasoned with (civilly or otherwise). Mercifully, their social incompetence limits their ability to maintain coherent groups.

  3. mandrellian says

    If these hateful douchebuckets who _are_ the problem were intelligent and honest enough to engage with the actual topics under discussion, I guess they would no longer be the problem (to paraphrase Dr House: if you could reason with sexists there wouldn’t be any sexists).

    So, yeah, cut ‘em loose. We’re walking into a headwind and they’re acting like parachutes.

  4. dirigible says

    “We don’t have to exclude them from these conversations; they’ve excluded themselves.”

    This.

  5. Matt says

    I do not understand what rights straight American women are lacking. As a gay man I am lacking 1700 state and fderal rights and am the most beaten and killed and discriminated minorioty in America and straight women in this country are lacking ?

  6. says

    “You don’t get to decide what someone else finds offensive.
    You don’t get to decide what someone else finds uncomfortable, unwelcoming, disconcerting, stressful, harrassing, troubling or painful.”

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Ophelia, you know I have been repeating just this sentiment over and over and over to no avail to certain trolls and thugs. All they did was put plugs in their ears and shut me out.

  7. Jessie says

    Matt #9
    You are muddying the waters by introducing another topic – discrimination against gay people in society. Yes, that is a real problem but that is not what is being discussed here. Similarly, this particular thread is not considering colour or trans issues, for example.

    Can you see that there are issues for women in the atheist/skeptic community which need to be addressed?

  8. JenL says

    I do not understand what rights straight American women are lacking. As a gay man I am lacking 1700 state and fderal rights and am the most beaten and killed and discriminated minorioty in America and straight women in this country are lacking ?

    Well, just as one example, the right to be sure that if I walk into a pharmacy with a prescription, it will be filled. (With all the usual assumptions about it being a drug the pharmacy stocks, having an employee available, etc.) As opposed to playing the “does THIS pharmacist disapprove of hormonal therapy that just happens to have a contraceptive effect?” game.

    Fortunately for me, where I work, I don’t have to worry about my employer deciding that my healthcare violates their religion. I also don’t have to worry about my employer paying me less because I’m female. But many women in the U.S. face both of those issues.

    That’s just off-hand.

  9. says

    Further in the article it says:

    “You don’t get to decide what someone else finds offensive.
    You don’t get to decide what someone else finds uncomfortable, unwelcoming, disconcerting, stressful, harrassing, troubling or painful.”

    but that’s not what we atheists say about the religious is it?

    In that case, offence is taken not given, stealing a communion wafer is not disconcerting, stressful, troubling or painful to Catholics – no, it’s a joke and if it upsets them, more fool them.

    And what about
    “These individuals are beneath contempt. They’re not just misinformed or mistaken, they’re malicious little thugs who are lashing out in response to the fear that someone might actually expect them to treat another human being with respect. They aren’t decent people disagreeing, they’re part of the problem. We don’t have to exclude them from these conversations; they’ve excluded themselves.”

    Is this really what you have come to? Do you really need this painfully deconstructing to see the contradictions?

    Jesus wept.

  10. says

    Weird how the most clear sorts of statements can be twisted and misinterpreted by people. It makes me automatically assume malice rather than ignorance, because it seems like you have to work pretty hard to find anything wrong or hypocritical in what Matt and others have been saying.

    @Yahweh:

    Do you understand the difference between a human being and a cracker? Yes or no, please.

  11. Wowbagger, Titillated Victorian Gentleman says

    Improbable Joe, with respect – it is a magic cracker.

  12. Stevarious says

    @Matt #9

    and am the most beaten and killed and discriminated minorioty in America

    Not to minimize any discrimination you have experienced, but that would be trans women of color in that category.

  13. karmakin says

    @Joe: Matt could have put that better. It’s not about offense, it’s about safety, primarily. And as much as it is about offense, it’s untrue that offense should be entirely in the eyes of the offended, some people in this world really are unreasonably offended by certain things and we have to put a limit on it somewhere.

  14. says

    Ah yes, the magic cracker. Apparently, crackers can be invested with magic to make them more valuable than women.

    BTW, I don’t find any of those “but what about other cases where people say they are offended?” arguments to be remotely honest or reasonable. They rest on all sorts of nonsense assumptions that are barely worth getting into for the millionth time, mainly the way the context of the issue is stripped away, or how hyper-skepticism is applied to the claims of women while men are automatically assumed to be innocent victims of irrational women without a double-blinded experiment that is peer-reviewed and published in a scientific paper.

  15. Chaos Engineer says

    Do you really need this painfully deconstructing to see the contradictions?

    OK, I see where you’re confused. You’ve fallen into the KKK Fallacy: “You have to be tolerant of my intolerance, or else you’re just as bad as I am!”

    That might look like a valid argument at first glance, but it’s actually just a semantic gimmick. You can resolve the apparent contradiction by asking, “When we say we want to reduce intolerance, what is our goal?”

    As to the specific examples of “KKK-Intolerance” you referenced:

    The communion wafer incident was a political protest, targeted at people who had been harassing and threatening a college student. It wasn’t a joke, and it was intended to upset the harassers. (It was also controversial…many atheists disapproved on the grounds that it had the side-effect of offending people who had opposed the harassment and who didn’t deserve to be offended.)

    The “beneath contempt” passage you quoted was just an accurate description of people who are beneath contempt. That’s not even something that should be controversial.

  16. says

    @karmakin:

    I suppose that you’re technically correct, but you’re not right. That is to say that an honest person interested in an honest discussion doesn’t feel the need to always bring up “unreasonable offense” in a discussion of what honest people understand to be completely reasonable offense. I’ve actually seen people say “but what if someone is offended by the color blue?!?!?!” as though that’s a valid contribution to the discussion.

    The larger point, the point that matters, is that all complaints of offense/harassment/etc. should FIRST be taken seriously, and THEN the official response judged based on the level of the problem. There’s no great sacrifice in minimally being told to leave someone else alone at a weekend conference, no matter what the nature of the offense or how trivial it seems.

  17. karmakin says

    Well, that’s why I supported/desired anti-harassment policies that revolved around behavior, and not opinions. But most people disagreed with me. Some good reasons, some bad reasons.

    The problem with how Matt worded the end there is that it stripped away in and of itself all context. That’s the problem that I have with it. He said other things, that of course, go against that…that we have the right to explain why we’re not going to account for that offense…but I think on the whole that little blurb really did take away from the otherwise really good post.

  18. says

    karmakin, I have no idea what this means: “Well, that’s why I supported/desired anti-harassment policies that revolved around behavior, and not opinions.” Can you clarify?

  19. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    but that’s not what we atheists say about the religious is it?

    Which of these characteristics are chosen: religion or sex?

  20. josh says

    “Those are the ones we mean.”

    Who, specifically, has issued threats of rape and violence?

  21. Still me says

    “how hyper-skepticism is applied to the claims of women while men are automatically assumed to be innocent victims of irrational women”

    Scientific null hypothesis significance testing is a tool against type II errors and is not designed to discover the truth. Burdens of proof shouldn’t be attached to beliefs.

    It does make sense in many contexts to legally assume innocence until guilt is proven, or the opposite, as when judging scientific theories.

    But estimates for whether someone is or isn’t telling the truth, whether they are or aren’t misremembering, etc. should always be somewhere between 0% and 100%, for everyone’s statements, always.

  22. karmakin says

    @Joe:Basically I support (or supported, I see that it’s probably problematic and more trouble than it’s worth at this point and impossible to do, and I’m not one to let the perfect get in the way of the possible) harassment policies that basically divide conferences into professional, semi-professional and casual events and lay out what behavior is not allowed for each level. Theoretically it would ensure that everybody is on the same page and make sure for a safe environment for the people that we are targeting with this (people…women and men who don’t go to conventions because of the “frat house” environment).

  23. jamessweet says

    He also brings attention to the fact that there are also a lot of really good people out there who just ‘don’t get it’ and we should focus on helping those people to understand the issues.

    One of the most frustrating things about this is that the “thugs” are making it very difficult for this to happen. I do believe that some of the people on the right side of this issue have overreached at times, and as a result are not being as effective as they could be at reaching the good-people-who-don’t-get-it-yet — but it’s almost impossible to communicate this concern with any fidelity when the people doing the occasional and mild overreaching are meanwhile getting bombarded with freaking rape and death threats…!!!

  24. jamessweet says

    As far as Magic Cracker-ism, and the analogy here… Context. Let’s say PZ had done his cracker desecration in an Islamic theocracy where Catholics were constantly harassed and persecuted. In that case, I think it would have been pretty distasteful and unhelpful. Instead, he did it in a country where Christians in general and Catholics in particular were successfully throwing a shit fit over one college kid’s innocent curiosity.

    One is not deflating any sacred cows when you make a woman feel concerned for her safety. That happens everywhere, all the time.

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