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Mar 29 2013

U mad bro?

Aha. My response to Shermer’s response to me is now online.

At Free Inquiry

Outraged shouting and tweets and photoshops in 5, 4, 3….

36 comments

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  1. 1
    smhll

    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.”

    Yes, it sounds a bit as if he believes prominent people deserve to receive better treatment than average people.

    (Maybe Spiderman should have a talk with him about responsibility…)

  2. 2
    Raging Bee

    Methinks you were a bit too easy on the guy. Check out this bit:

    When self-proclaimed secular feminists attacked Richard Dawkins for a seemingly innocent response to an equally innocent admonishment to guys by Rebecca Watson (the founder of Skepchicks) that it isn’t cool to hit on women in elevators…

    “Seemingly innocent?” Where does he get that? Dawkins barged into an argument that didn’t concern him at all, just to bash a woman for voicing a concern he didn’t consider important; and partly as a result of his obnoxious blathering, a huge number of men and boys piled on with an absolutely unbelievable amount of willful ignorance, blatant dishonesty, and pure incontinent hatred. There’s nothing “seemingly innocent” about that at all.

    Shermer may not really be as sexist as his “more of a guy thing” remark makes him sound. But subsequent statements like the above don’t exactly rescue his image.

  3. 3
    Rutee Katreya

    Y’know, if Shermer, Harris, and Dawkins actually are on a blacklist that makes it impossible to work or even get press, they should say something about it. Like on the websites they own and the books they publish. HUAC actually ruined lives, jackass, you guys weren’t even inconvenienced.

  4. 4
    Maureen Brian

    Fergawdsake, is Shermer going to dine out on this for the for the rest of his life?

    Apart from anything else which might be said of it, that was the most egregious piece of circular reasoning since George W Bush in the run up to the Iraq war.

    “Why do there seem to be more guys doing this sort of thing?”

    “‘Cos its more of a guy sort of thing.”

    Skeptics aren’t supposed to do that, either.

  5. 5
    Brony

    Why does it work when men call out women for “being too emotional/hysterical/…”? Because It allows men to be even more emotional in response and collectively pile on to maintain a social structure. We do it to each other too, I just find the hypocrisy kind of delicious when I encounter it in an argument.

  6. 6
    Kevin

    I believe Dawkins once said something to the effect of, “in a dispute, often times the truth does not lie in the middle. It’s quite possible that one side is simply wrong”.

    Shermer is simply wrong. His remarks were simply wrong. His over-the-top anger over being called out for his remarks doubled down on the wrongness.

    And every single statement he makes from here on out that isn’t “I’m sorry. I misspoke. I was wrong.” only concentrates and purifies his wrongness. We’re getting to weapons-grade wrongness now.

    Please, Michael. Back down. To use a “guy phrase”, lose some testosterone, OK? You puffing your chest like a silverback gorilla does not endear you to rational people — the kind who might buy books on skepticism and reason.

    Why do people believe stupid things, Michael? Why do you?

  7. 7
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    So if even the most prominent and eloquent of the anti-SJ crowd — Shermer — needs to resort to hyperbolic rhetoric in order to respond to criticism…why the fuck do we need a dialogue with the anti crowd, again?

    Shermer’s entitlement is on full display. Don’t criticise him, or any of the other privileged right-wingy “leaders” like Harris and Dawkins, but do go ahead and smear the totalitarian FemiNaziStasi with whatever rhetoric you feel works best. And in saying this, he fits right at home with the rest of the Slymepit, libertarianism and all.

    Kevin #6:

    Please, Michael. Back down. To use a “guy phrase”, lose some testosterone, OK? You puffing your chest like a silverback gorilla does not endear you to rational people — the kind who might buy books on skepticism and reason.

    He won’t. Libertarianism is all about treating the rhetorical equivalent of chest-beating as “skepticism and reason”. Why, it’s called Reason magazine for a reason!

  8. 8
    carlie

    The criticism really boils down to “How dare you have an opinion!”

  9. 9
    carlie

    (all of the criticism of the type Shermer is lobbing, I mean)

  10. 10
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Excellent.

    If there’s one thing these disputes have brought to light, it’s that several “prominent” skeptics and atheists have become comically, embarrassingly full of themselves.

    To sum all that up: Shermer characterizes a brief criticism of something he said as a McCarthy-like witch hunt, a purge, the Nazi party, an inquisition, and a criminal trial.

    I remain astonished that the author of Denying History really compared someone quoting and publicly criticizing his words to the Holocaust. It’s just so obscene and shameful.

  11. 11
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    And it just so happens that Yo, Is This Racist has a very fitting post about libertarians up today.

    I don’t see Shermer re-evaluating his politics from top to bottom any time soon though.

  12. 12
    Kevin

    Setar: As it happens, I have two Shermer books downloaded on my e-reader … in “preview”. Haven’t bought them yet. I’m going to use my libertarianism to continue to not purchase those books.

    Shermer doesn’t know me from Boo. My opinions are worthless to him.

    My pocketbook? Different story. He’d love for me to hit “buy” twice. (Four times actually, twice for each book–it’s a feature, not a bug of the e-reader.)

    Sometimes, when you have only one weapon, that’s the weapon you use.

  13. 13
    map ref. 41°n 93°w

    I find it amusing that you project all of your neurosis onto Shermer. He’s “indignant”, is he? It seems to me that it is you Ophelia, who is “indignant”, and constantly agitated by the fact you can’t address his points without being childish and intellectually ineffective. That is why you have to write about 5 blog posts in reply to his one – because you have no coherent argument.

    Meanwhile, “carlie” says “The criticism really boils down to “How dare you have an opinion!

    You mean like EllenBeth’s opinion at Pharyngula. We all know the Baboons don’t allow dissenting “opinion”, so don’t come playing that game.

    PS – Ophelia, we all know there is a “blacklist”, don’t we? Cos that’s when the first attempted smearing of Shermer came about. Just a pity that the wider community points and laughs at the idea of this blacklist – one of the reasons the “blacklist” tactic was quietly dumped in the “backchannel”.

  14. 14
    Stacy

    Shermer may not really be as sexist as his “more of a guy thing” remark makes him sound.

    IMO he probably is, really. He’s been saying stuff like that for years. You can find him saying the same sort of thing on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect Show, back when that was on.

    I think he’s one of those “Well, I believe in equal rights and I don’t insist that women stay barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, so how dare you say I’m sexist!” types.

  15. 15
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    map ref. 41°n 93°w wrote:

    You mean like EllenBeth’s opinion at Pharyngula. We all know the Baboons don’t allow dissenting “opinion”, so don’t come playing that game.

    Another reminder of the first commandment of the Slymepit: “Thou shalt commit false equivalence!”

  16. 16
    Ophelia Benson

    Easy for you to say, “map ref” – you don’t risk anything by talking.

    No, we don’t “all know” that. There is no blacklist. That’s bullshit.

    And I wrote about what Shermer said shortly after he said it. No need for tinfoil hat speculations about the timing.

    You’d be amazed to know how much contempt people around here – real people, with names, not harassers with frequently changed fake names – have for people like you and your moronic hobby. If you think “the wider community” is pro-harassment you’re deluded.

  17. 17
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Is map ref. 41°n 93°w a conspiracy theorist or a parody troll?

  18. 18
    Ophelia Benson

    Yes.

  19. 19
    hyperdeath

    Is “map ref. 41°n 93°w” a CommanderTuvok sockpuppet?

  20. 20
    hyperdeath

    Argh! Can I say anything without the spam filter pouncing on it?

  21. 21
    carlie

    That is why you have to write about 5 blog posts in reply to his one –

    You mean like how he wrote a full article in response to a single statement she made?

  22. 22
    Ophelia Benson

    @ 19, probably, but who knows.

  23. 23
    Rutee Katreya

    PS – Ophelia, we all know there is a “blacklist”, don’t we? Cos that’s when the first attempted smearing of Shermer came about. Just a pity that the wider community points and laughs at the idea of this blacklist – one of the reasons the “blacklist” tactic was quietly dumped in the “backchannel”.

    Hey, lesson for chump: To be a blacklist, it has to actually seriously affect their ability to work and produce material. Hollywood’s and the publishing industry’s in the Meriken 1950s were maybe a bit stronger than normal, but again: They completely ruined lives. People never worked again because of those blacklists. What evidence do you have that this was even ATTEMPTED (You obviously have none that this was actually DONE. You say as much yourself, though you claim it’s because the skeptic community is ‘immune to blacklists’, more or les.)

  24. 24
    coelsblog

    I’m a bit baffled. A recap. The original exchange by Shermer consisted of two questions and two answers (paraphrasing):

    Q1: Why isn’t atheism 50/50?
    Q2: Why did I have a hell of a job finding a woman panelist?
    A1: I think it really is 50/50.
    A2: It’s more of a guy thing.

    Ophelia Benson’s piece presented Q1 and A2, omitting the intervening Q2 and A1. Michael Shermer, in his reply, said that Benson had “redacted” the material, meaning the omission of Q2 and A1.

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/redact “To reduce to form, as literary matter; to digest and put in shape (matter for publication); to edit”.

    In this latest piece, Ophelia Benson says: “So why is Michael Shermer so angry? He did after all say what I quoted him as saying. (He twice says I “redacted” it but that’s offensively incorrect—I did no such thing.) “.

    Offensively wrong?

  25. 25
    Argle Bargle

    Shermer hasn’t been blacklisted. His employment isn’t threatened. He hasn’t been denied platforms to express his views. He’s been criticized for statements he’s made. That’s all.

  26. 26
    Ophelia Benson

    @ 24 – Yes, offensively wrong.

    Your “the original exchange” doesn’t mean anything. It was the whole hour’s worth of video, it was from when Cara Santa Maria read the question, it was the whole Q&A – or not.

    In any case I wasn’t attempting to discuss “the original exchange”: I wanted to discuss one thing that Shermer said. I didn’t distort what he said.

    The word “redacted” has sinister connotations, as I’m sure you know perfectly well. It was a deliberately offensive word to use. It accuses me of abusing my vast sinister power.

  27. 27
    Argle Bargle

    Incidentally, 41°N 93°W is between Chariton and Albia Iowa, about 20 miles southeast of Des Moines and west of Ottumwa. The intersection between that latitude and longitude is near a rural stretch of US Route 34.

  28. 28
    hjhornbeck

    Right-o, time to pull out your bingo cards! In Des Moines’ comment, I count:

    Insider Slang
    Anonymous Comment
    Pharyngula is Mean
    SkepChick/FtB control Skepticism
    Ophelia Benson
    Derailing with Pet Gripe
    Destroying Reputations

    I bet there’s a few bingos out there. I’m wondering if I shouldn’t change “SkepChick/FtB are Dying” to “SkepChick/FtB are Isolated,” as the latter seems more common, and an entry for “Batshit Conspiracy Theory” (how, exactly, does Des Moines know what goes on in the private backchannel?) I’ve also got to figure out how much time without replying qualifies for a Drive-By. Four days?

  29. 29
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    Not that it matters in any way, but map ref’s nym is a reference to a Wire song from the late 70s. So probably nothing to do with Des Moines at all.

    But it disappoints me that someone with great taste in post-punk is a ‘pitter.

  30. 30
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    It is not a reference, it i the title of the song.

    And Wire was not post punk, they were part of the the movement of 76-77 even if they sounded nothing like the other bands.

  31. 31
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    they were part of the the movement of 76-77 even if they sounded nothing like the other bands.

    True, but they morphed pretty quickly away from any sort of punk orthodoxy. I tend to lump them in with the first wave of post-punk, like Magazine and PiL, but that’s because I’m lazy.

    /threadjack over

  32. 32
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    The song is better than anything that the troll will have to say.

  33. 33
    Stacy

    You mean like EllenBeth’s opinion at Pharyngula. We all know the Baboons don’t allow dissenting “opinion”, so don’t come playing that game.

    Like EllenBeth’s dissenting opinion, which she expressed over the course of several hours, which is still there to read? Is that your idea of dissent that isn’t allowed? If so, you need a better dictionary. “Allowed” doesn’t meant “unchallenged.”

    By the way, I was one of half a dozen regulars (that’s “Ms. Baboon” to you) who defended EllenBeth on that thread. Tell me again who’s playing games here, fool?

    Ophelia, we all know there is a “blacklist”, don’t we? Cos that’s when the first attempted smearing of Shermer came about.

    What’s the gobshite even talking about here? Anybody know?

  34. 34
    Ophelia Benson

    No, I don’t know. It seems to be some story they’re telling themselves and each other, and trying to tell everyone else, but what the story is and why on earth it is, I don’t know.

  35. 35
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I find it amusing that you project all of your neurosis onto Shermer. He’s “indignant”, is he?

    Yeah, if you have to compare some rather mild criticism in a magazine that will be read by, say 100k people with some of the worst crimes in human history, then you’re rather indignant, don’t ya think?

    Ophelia, we all know there is a “blacklist”, don’t we?

    We all know what they say about dwarves, don’t we?

    1 internet cookie for the first one to get the reference ;)

  36. 36
    talynknight

    We all know what they say about dwarves, don’t we?
    1 internet cookie for the first one to get the reference.

    De-lurking to claim my free cookie if only because I just finished reading Small Arms and Discworld is awesome.

    If that wasn’t your intent then never mind, but it is a curious meta-reference considering in the books the dwarf himself does not know what everyone says about dwarves.

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