The “Atheist Missionary” came back, to do two more pointless tweets at me, because that works so well. His tweets went so:
Your “bend a knee” comment suggests @michaelshermer somehow bows to popular figures in freethought movement or …
…it suggests that @michaelshermer expects you to bow to him. Both suggestions are BS, IMHO.
That’s why it’s stupid to try to have complicated arguments on Twitter. Another reason is that he left as soon as he fired those shots. There are so many reasons it’s stupid to try to have complicated arguments on Twitter.
I told him
No it doesn’t. It’s in direct response to his claim about “our most prominent leaders.”
But it was futile, because no reply. Why do people do this?
Anyway, to repeat – what I said was in direct reponse to what Shermer said.
Shermer however genuinely does seem to think that “prominence” should confer immunity to challenge. After he mentions the putative purge of “such prominent advocates as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris” he says that “I have stayed out of this witch hunt against our most prominent leaders.” Our what? Whose “leaders”? I don’t recall joining any army, or even a party. I don’t consider Dawkins and Harris my “leaders”; I don’t consider anyone that.
No, I’m sorry, that won’t do. I’m not going to bend the knee to “our most prominent leaders” and I’m not going to refrain from criticizing them and go looking for less prominent people to dispute. On the contrary: the prominence itself is a reason to dispute a bit of thoughtless sexism. The honcho dudes are influential, so it’s all the more unfortunate if they’re recycling dopy sexist stereotypes.
What I said there suggests neither that Shermer “bows to popular figures in freethought movement” nor that he expects me to bow to him. What it suggests, if you’re paying attention to the words on the page, is that Shermer thinks it’s out of bounds to criticize things that “our most prominent leaders” – his words, not mine – say. My refusal to bend the knee is (surely obviously) a repudiation of the demand for deference implicit in what Shermer said. It’s not that difficult to grasp.