A thoughtful, fair, reasoned profile of the worst woman in the universe

This is a parody. I am being sarcastic. No bison were harmed in the making of this parody.

I have a question. It is this. Why does this one woman that I hate and that a lot of people hate get so much sexist abuse via the Internet? Why why oh why?

While this post applies to several prominent and outspoken women in the atheist community that I hate, I’m going to focus on this one woman because she seems to be the easiest target for most of the sexist online vitriol. Her name is Annabelle Jones and everybody hates her, including me. That makes it much easier for me to focus on her, because there is so much hate of her sloshing around out there already that I don’t have to think, I can just type. All those other prominent and outspoken women in the atheist community that I hate are just as bad though, don’t make any mistake about that. You know who they are. We all know who they are. We all hate them. Right? Right? We all hate those prominent outspoken women. Who doesn’t hate prominent outspoken women? I ask you.

First of all, let me say this. If you’re engaging in anything other than legitimate criticism of her arguments or behavior, I beg you to stop. Don’t be mean. It demonstrates to people who already despise atheists that atheists are immoral, and confirms their worst fears.

There, now that’s out of the way, I’ll explain why Annabelle Jones (whom I hate) gets so much sexist abuse. [Read more...]

Go look for the big old mess

Jonah Lehrer. Recycling old material aka self-plagiarism. Not correcting mistakes. A culture that fosters and rewards such things. Science writing. Carl Zimmer draws them all together in order to talk about the difficulty of doing good science writing and why it’s important to keep it in mind.

I was willing to cut Lehrer some slack at first, but as the additional evidence came in, I wondered if I was making excuses for him. The breaking point came when I read about how he had warped a story about a memory prodigy, claiming that he had memorized all of Dante’s Inferno instead of just the first few lines. When someone noted the error, Lehrer blamed it on his editor, but kept on using the enhanced version of the story in his own blog and on Radiolab (which later had to correct their podcast). It’s easy to slip up with facts, but we have an obligation to admit when we’re wrong and not make the same mistake again. It would have been bad enough that Lehrer distorted the facts and continued to do so after having the facts pointed out to him. But he was also willing to damage other people’s reputations along the way. That’s when I signed off.

Really. Don’t mess with Radiolab. [Read more...]

Disengage and write about another topic (or stop writing)

Vacula also wanted attention from Stephanie, so like me, she obliged. Unlike me, she read the whole post, which I lacked the motivation or interest to do. It’s good that she did, because she looked at one passage that is quite sinister. Vacula wrote:

Whether we consider classrooms, internet forums/blogs, or the hostile climate against atheists, it should be understood that nasty people exist. The nastiness is, of course, unfortunate. We can work to change this nastiness and hope that people will be nice, but this just isn’t the case and likely won’t be in the near future. We should, then, make responsible decisions based on our environments. If you don’t get along with another student in class, avoid interactions with that student.

Ah but mere not getting along is not the issue. (How I do keep repeating that, don’t I. That’s because they keep misrepresenting what the issue is. It’s not disagreement, it’s not dissent, it’s not criticism, it’s not not getting along. It’s not. That’s not it.) Mere not getting along is not the issue. The issue is a determined campaign of persecution. [Read more...]

LSE and ex-Muslims

The LSE Student Union Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society has replied to the Student Union’s rejection of ASH’s request to change their name to the LSESU Atheist, Secularist, Humanist and Ex-Muslim Society.

We are glad that you acknowledge that the situation of ex-Muslim students is precarious and deserving of special attention, and that they are in need of a “safe space.” On a less enthusiastic note, we are saddened by the fact that you did apparently not consult with ex-Muslims before taking your decision, as Imtiaz had proposed. [Read more...]


I have friends stranded in Nashville. I have friends battening down hatches all over the East Coast and up into Canada.

Good luck, best wishes, chin up, hope you’re all where you want to be and comfortable soon.


Another demand for attention

Justin Vacula wants us to pay attention to his new blog post. I skimmed it and don’t think I want to pay any more attention to it than that, but if you want to, knock yourselves out. (It seems to boil down to “if you’re not willing to be called a fucking cunt then don’t say anything that might prompt someone to call you a fucking cunt.” I think that’s a very stupid and retrograde approach.)

The Searchers

How about a spot of movie discussion? I’ve been meaning to see The Searchers again for years, having not seen it since childhood (several centuries ago, as we all know). I remember finding it quite haunting as a child. I’ve seen bits of it many times since then, of course, especially the famous closing scene, which I think fully deserves its famosity, or what people call its “iconic” status. Ok they can call it that, because it is sort of literally iconic. It’s visual.

[Read more...]

One after the other, the men raped her

There are first world problems and there are third world problems. Yes. I’ll tell you something though – they’re not discontinuous. There’s not a clean radical break between them. They’re rooted in the same human flaws.

But that’s an aside. Now for full attention to a third world problem. Dabra, India.

One after the other, the men raped her. They had dragged the girl into a darkened stone shelter at the edge of the fields, eight men, maybe more, reeking of pesticide and cheap whiskey. They assaulted her for nearly three hours. She was 16 years old. [Read more...]