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Aug 14 2013

Transcript of Mr Deity’s advice on gossip and wine consumption

Transcription courtesy of John Morales.

I want to take this time today to answer this question I get a lot: why don’t I believe in the gospels.

Um — the first big problem I have with the gospels is that they are anonymous — a lot of people don’t know that, but it’s true.

Um, and no good skeptic, atheist, freethinker should ever accept any anonymous report just offhand; aah especially when we’re talking about something truly awful — I mean, the gospel writers have Jesus doing some pretty ugly stuff.  Umm, killing a tree for no reason, which makes him look completely insane; they have him claiming to be God, which would have been a major blasphemy within Judaism at the time; and they have him turning water into wine, which we all know is just a tactic to get the ladies drunk — right? — I mean, no-one turns water into wine for any reason that’s not just completely nefarious!

But if you’re gonna talk [whoopee noise] about someone like that, you can’t do that anonymously — and if you do, what is that?  What are we talking about?

That’s nothing more than gossip.

And I think that as good skeptics, atheists, freethinkers, we should all know how absolutely toxic, disgusting and beneath us it is to repeat and or report mere gossip.

[Person with wine bottle approaches wineglass-holding Mr. Deity: "would you like a refill?" "Um, no.  Thank you."]

Now.  See how easy that was?

Here’s another little tip: if you find it hard to say no to the refill, you can just leave the glass full!  Don’t take another sip!

That’s my friendly little piece of advice to those of you without a backbone, or any sense of personal responsibility!

The other problem with the gospels is that these anonymous reports are made years after the fact; some scholars say decades. Ah, that gives Jesus no opportunity to refute the claims — I mean, there isn’t a decent justice system in the entire world that doesn’t give the accused the right to confront his or her accuser.  That’s just basic justice.

And in many cases, even the witnesses of the witnesses are anonymous.

Really?! C’mon!  We’re skeptics! We don’t take stuff like that at face value!

The other problem here is confirmation bias: the tendency to see only what we wanna see.

That’s clearly what the gospel writers were doing here; they wanted a hero (or a villain, depending on your perspective), and they found one!

But, as good skeptics, we should all know the power of confirmation bias — I mean, for heaven’s sake, they found witches in Salem, and Joe McCarthy found the communists under every bed — as skeptics, we need to stand up to these anonymous gossipal authors and those who would repeat such gossip and say “have you no sense of decency, Sir! At long last, have you left no sense of decency.”

Of course, if you’re completely divorced from the skeptic community, I don’t expect you to understand these basic principles — but the rest of us should know better!

Remember: “do unto others”

52 comments

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  1. 1
    michaeld

    “I mean, for heaven’s sake, they found witches in Salem, and Joe McCarthy found the communists under every bed”

    Next thing you know they’ll be finding 20$ bills in people’s wallets where will the madness end?!

  2. 2
    David Marjanović

    *epic facepalm*

    Thanks for the transcript.

  3. 3
    Amanda Graham

    Thanks for the transcript.

    Now excuse me, I have to go find a toilet to vomit into.

  4. 4
    ajb47

    Except it’s not gossip. A trusted (by non-anti-feminists) person has a trusted primary source. Is this his way of saying he doesn’t trust Dr. Myers?

    There’s a post on manboobz: http://manboobz.com/2013/08/12/mra-paul-elam-this-world-deserves-a-jerk-on-the-collar-and-a-slap-across-the-face-and-the-flying-spittle-of-rage/

    with a comment from Karalora (http://manboobz.com/2013/08/12/mra-paul-elam-this-world-deserves-a-jerk-on-the-collar-and-a-slap-across-the-face-and-the-flying-spittle-of-rage/comment-page-1/#comment-340216), in response to the idea that because no one (maybe very few) actually says “sexual assault/rape is good” thereby there is no rape culture, says:

    Anyone who says this seriously is already misunderstanding what rape culture is. It’s not “He committed rape, so he’s a hero,” so much as “He’s a hero, therefore what he did can’t really be rape.”

    BAM! As others in the comments there said — this put a lot of things the anti’s are doing and saying into perspective for me. “We like this person, so they couldn’t possibly be in the wrong.”

    Perhaps “Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)” or “Being Wrong (Adventures in the Margin of Error)” or even “Thinking Fast and Slow” would be helpful to these people.

  5. 5
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Women’s speech dismissed as “gossip”–really, can’t they think of anything original? They have to dredge up centuries old sexist tropes?

    Ugh.

  6. 6
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    John Moralse –

    Thank you again for transcribing this.

    I know folks including me have placed thanks in the other thread but seems likely they could be lost in the lengthy comments. And this one is almost at the top, so I hope you’ll see it!

  7. 7
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Damn, of course after I hit submit, I realize I typo’d Morales. Sorry.

    Must be that second glass of wine I had with dinner. Makes me feel dumb.

  8. 8
    Menyambal

    Thanks very much for the transcript. I did not want to watch that, and hear that.

    As I have said elsewhere, what kind of evidence can there be between these two scenarios?

    A: A woman sits down with a man, has alcohol under her personal limit, decides to have sex with him, says so, they go to a room, they have consensual sex.

    B: A woman sits down with a man, he gets her to take alcohol over her personal limit, he “helps” her to a room, she doesn’t soberly consent to sex, he has sex with her anyway.

    What evidence will there be that is different there? What are the police going to find?

    The very best that I can think of is the bartender’s record of drinks served, and that’s going to be useless. The bartender won’t remember, if he did he’d have to testify that he aided rape, it’s hard to say which were the man’s drinks and which were the woman’s, and who knows if either person really consumed the drinks—it’s shit evidence, and I only bring it in to show that I’ve put some thought into this. And, the only way to know what the woman’s usual limit is, and what she drank, is to ask her—so we are back at taking her word for what happened.

    And we should take her word for it. She was there, it was her body, she gets to say. Besides, why should we say we that she decided to get drunk, then scoff when she decided that she had been raped? Either her decisions are good, or they are bad—anything else is insulting as all hell.

    If a guy decided to have sex with a woman that he didn’t know, and can’t trust, he’s even dumber than the guys are saying women are for starting in on drinking. A woman should be able to get ripping drunk and fall out of her clothes without being raped, and even in this culture, should NOT be condemned for falling for some slick shitweasel’s practiced techniques. A man, on the other hand, who deliberately sets out to have sex with a woman he knows nothing about, a woman who for all he knows is diseased, a woman who may cry rape, may try blackmail, and may be married; that man is literally a fucking idiot. And if he knows she is drunk and can’t legally consent, he is even fucking stupider.

    The dudebros who want to be excused when a bad idea goes even worse, are asking for consequence-free sex, free of strings, morals, thought, decency and mostly, free of respect for women. The dudebros insisting that women should “man-up” and take their consequences is far beyond ludicrous.

  9. 9
    Eamon Knight

    Oookaaaay. Just as glad I stopped watching Mr. Deity a while ago (the schtick was getting a tad overworked, and I increasingly lack patience to watch videos anyway).

  10. 10
    Pieter B, FCD

    To John Morales, thanks for taking one for the team. I’ve only watched a couple of Mr Deity videos in the past and wasn’t planning on watching this one. From that small sample I found Mr D the sort of thing Brendan Whatshisname was complaining about in his ashamed-to-be-an-atheist article eviscerated here recently.

    I find myself wondering if ONR&C will be getting new theme music.

  11. 11
    antaresrichard

    This from Brian Keith Dalton’s Facebook Page:

    “A blogger posts a third-party anonymous report of a rape — which includes only the vague charge that the person in question coerced them into a position where they couldn’t consent. Fans of the blogger assume the person in question guilty without evidence, trial, or the right of the accused to confront his accuser. Another blogger posts a third-party anonymous report from an adult child accusing the first blogger of molesting him when he was a child. Again, there is no evidence — excepting an anonymous report from someone saying they saw the blogger talking to children in a “creepy” way. There are no details of the crime. No trial. And no right of the accused to confront his accuser. Do his fans now assume that blogger number one is guilty of child molestation? Prediction?”

  12. 12
    changerofbits

    I’m in the YT comments as nihilvenitadeus and he’s been responding to me. Had to point to Wikipedia for a blame the victim definition and he seems to have taken a small step by acknowledging that its not OK to rape drunk people (which is good as the goons are wailing at full volume). I know, it’s ridiculous that he’s doing this should just get it, but I was as ignorant and as influnced by rape culture as him earlier in life.

  13. 13
    evil is evil

    Eight to twelve of my favorite blogs have ended lately. Four or five died. The others turned to other pursuits, unfortunately three or four for health reasons.

    I doubt if I have ever told you how much I appreciate the time and effort expended on this blog. Thank you.

  14. 14
    Hein

    …that gives Jesus no opportunity to refute the claims…

    Comparing Shermer to Jesus … Wow, that’s some halo effect!

  15. 15
    mofa

    We all witnessed PZ ‘divorce’ himself from the Skeptic Movement a little while ago:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/05/05/i-officially-divorce-myself-from-the-skeptic-movement/

    I like Brain can understand if you have ‘divorced’ yourself from skepticism then you shouldn’t be expected to understand the basic principles of justice and decency when it comes to ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and the right to defend yourself against unsubstantiated accusations.
    Brain is also wise in his advice “If you find it hard to say no to the re-filling of your glass, then just don’t sip the wine and your glass will remain full and your mind clear”.

  16. 16
    chrislawson

    The problems with Mr Deity’s argument:

    1. From this nonbeliever’s point of view, the problem with the gospels is NOT that they are anonymous. There are many anonymous documents that are valuable sources of information, including historical texts, journals by unidentified authors, and leaked scandals.

    2. The problem with the gospels is that they are (i) fraudulently attributed to apostles when many were written centuries after the event, (ii) they are internally inconsistent, (iii) they are inconsistent with each other, (iv) they describe major political events that are not to be found in any contemporaneous historical record (e.g. Herod’s massacre), (v) they require the reader to believe in numerous miraculous events that have not occurred before or since and were not recorded by a single contemporaneous observer.

    3. Neither the Salem witch trials nor the McCarthy hearings hinged on anonymous evidence. The names of all the accusers in Salem were known in the community and McCarthy’s pseudo-judicial process depended upon public denunciations.

    4. The Salem trials required jurors to believe that witches could use magic to possess girl’s bodies and minds. The gospels require belief in numerous miracles. To give McCarthy his due, there really were American communists plotting to overthrow the US, but he took what was only ever a tiny extremist fringe with no real prospect of success and used their spectre to destroy the lives of thousands of people who believed in communism but wanted peaceful change (as is their Constitutional right), people who were once members of the Party but became disillusioned and left (as is their Constitutional right), people who were known to socialise with communists in the past (as is their Constitutional right), people who were never communists but refused to participate in his show trials (as is their Constitutional right), and by the end, anyone who simply offered any political resistance to his grandstanding. Equating belief in a rape accusation with belief in miracles, belief in magic powers, or belief in hyper-paranoid communist conspiracies is appalling. Rape is real and common while false reports are rare — the precise opposite of magic, miracles, or McCarthyist paranoia.

    5. Gossip means idle talk or rumour. If PZ had reported overhearing some people talking about a rumour, then that would be spreading gossip. This is not what happened.

  17. 17
    chrislawson

    So, mofa, Are you and Mr Deity really saying that if a woman is raped while drunk it’s her own fault for drinking too much? Are you really saying that?

  18. 18
    John Phillips, FCD

    mofa the maroon, he didn’t divorce from skepticism, but from the skeptic movement. If possible, try reading for comprehension next time as it’s even spelled out for you in the very link you posted.

    Also, on recent evidence it is many of those who claim to be skeptics and still in the movement who have divorced from skepticism.

    And yet another maroon who thinks this a court with the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ jibe when all PZ did was give women a heads up about a likely predator. A heads up that the people I know with female relatives or friends likely to come into contact with him will be grateful for.

  19. 19
    Mike in Cairns

    The glibness of the victim blaming was rather jarring for me. Even overlooking the possibility of drink substitution or straight out spiking, if Dalton doesn’t realise there are all sorts of ways to manipulate people’s behaviour and make them do things they don’t want to do or do things without being aware of doing them, perhaps he should talk to somebody who has spent time studying such manipulative techniques. Perhaps someone who has studied mentalists, con-artists and frauds. I wonder if Dalton knows someone like that.

    Hang on, isn’t Dalton good friends with a guy who edits a skeptic’s magazine:? What’s his name again?

  20. 20
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Dammit, trying a third time without the link.

    Here we go again.

    1 Innocent until proven guilty is a legal principle designed to protect people from the state. There is no obligation to adhere to it outside of a court of law.

    2 This allegation has been supported by another witness who knows the victim and was there the morning after.

    3 Thus allegation is further supported by another woman who was plied with alcohol by Shermer in a very similar way.

    4 The accuser came forward to warn other women, to prevent them from coming to harm. She has no interest in legal action. See point one.

    5 No one is stopping Shermer from defending himself,

    6 Rape and sexual assault are so common as to be a plauge upon or society. The victim’s claim is therefore not extraordinary and does not require extraordinary evidence.

    7 PZ Myers*, who published this woman’s story knows the woman, she is not anyonymous to him, and he trusts her.

    8 Shermer is a person who has power, wealth and prestige. These things make it possible for him to withstand a false allegation with minimal harm. Not *no* harm, please understand, but less harm than someone without those three attributes.

    9 If this allegation is true then other women, possibly many women, are at risk.

    Given all the above it is perfectly rational to conditionally accept that the allegation as true in order to minimise the possible harm. I’ll also say that accepting it as true until such time as evidence to the contrary is presented it’s the ethical thing to do.

    As for the advice on drinking, that is bog standard victim blaming. A drunk woman is just a drunk woman until someone decides to rape her. And let’s be clear: if someone is drunk enough to not be able to give meaningful consent then having sex with them is rape.

    Wow, I got through that without a single curse. I was holding back because I don’t know the commenting rules here and Pharyngula may have skewed my perception of normal in that regard.

    *Go here, read all 3000+ comments, your objections have been dealt with exhaustively It’s called: what-do-you-do-when-someone-pulls-the-pin-and-hands-you-a-grenade/ on Pharyngula.

  21. 21
    Guy in a Tank

    @mofa, #13:

    From your first line it is clear that you understood that PZ divorced himself from the Skeptic Movement. So, I don’t think you fail at reading comprehension, like others have alluded to.

    In your second line you equate this with no longer being a skeptical thinker. This is your first non-sequitur. It is quite possible to be a skeptical thinker without being in the Skeptic Movement – I am one example.

    Moreover, you claim that if you are not a skeptical thinker, you are therefore unable to understand “basic principles of justice and decency”. This is your second non-sequitur. I know many just and decent people who nevertheless believe in things like homeopathy, free energy and Bigfoot, and therefore cannot be called skeptical thinkers.

    Thirdly you conflate “basic principles of decency” with “innocent until proven guilty”. The former says something about how we should treat each other on a day-to-day basis, while the latter is a principle that is only applicable to the courtroom, and then only in criminal cases. There’s two possibilities here: either you know this but wrote otherwise, or you are not aware of the specific circumstances in which “innocent until proven guilty” applies.

    If the former, you are a liar. If the latter, you made an argument from ignorance. Take your pick.

    Then you allude to “unsubstantiated claims”. From the context, I understand you to mean that PZ made such claims in his “hand grenade” post. This is false, since PZ has first-hand, non-anonymous testimony from the victim, as well as corroborating testimony from several other non-anonymous sources, as PZ clearly states in his post. Since you refer to an older post of PZ, it is reasonable to assume that you have read this one as well. If you didn’t you make another argument from ignorance and there is no reason for you to be in this debate at all. And if you did read PZs post, you are a liar – the other possibility being that you lack reading comprehension, which I’ve dismissed earlier.

    And finally, “leaving the glass full” is not a tactic that will work well in practice. We all know that if you do are hesitant to drink (as I do – I am a teetotaller: I choose not to drink alcohol at all) you are put under a lot of social pressure to “participate” and “drink up”. So your statement that it is easy to leave your glass full is not an accurate description of reality.

    To conclude: two non-sequiturs, two instances of lying and / or arguments from ignorance and one blatant misrepresentation of reality. That is quite a score, given the brevity of your post.

  22. 22
    Great American Satan

    I like Brain

    I like Brain, too. It am make me think yoo hella wrong, dood.

  23. 23
    nich

    All mofo…I mean mofa is saying to the ladies is “Don’t be that girl”!

    Vomit.

  24. 24
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @great1american1satan:

    I was thinking more along the lines of a certain laboratory mouse with an overlarge cranium.

    “So Brain, what are we going to do tonight?”
    “The same thing we do every night Pinky: try to take over the world!”

  25. 25
    Steve A.E.

    It looks as though Dalton’s a confirmed speaker for the 2014 American Atheists convention. So is PZ (and Greta and many others of note, obviously).

  26. 26
    leftwingfox

    No trial.

    And no sentence.

    No arraignment, no perpwalk photos in the newspaper, no time in holding, no need to post bail, no need to attend a trial by force of law, no felony record, no jail time, not listed on the sex offender registry, no probation or parole restrictions.

    Apparently the grand total of being found guilty in the court of public opinion is that MAYBE half of the people believe the accusation is true, and MAYBE his book and speaking engagement career suffers a bit.

    How horrible.

  27. 27
    Steve A.E.

    Dang. I just saw that Ophelia was already discussing the Dalton-as-2014-speaker thing on Twitter, and someone there pointed out, correctly, that David Silverman on YouTube yesterday Liked the rotten video. Troubling.

  28. 28
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    I know Bugs Bunny used to use it all the time, but maroon is actually a racial slur, and it’d be nice to stop running into it over and over. Cf. http://www.rsdb.org/slur/maroon

    FYI.

  29. 29
    eigenperson

    the first big problem I have with the gospels is that they are anonymous

    The other problem with the gospels is that these anonymous reports are made years after the fact; some scholars say decades.

    That’s nonsense. If the anonymity of the gospels, or their time of writing, has any significant impact on your disbelief in them, you’re teetering on the precipice of Christianity.

    Suppose that today, archaeologists find another account of the life, death, and rebirth of Jesus, bearing many similarities in content to the existing ones, but written by some named person who was known to be contemporary with Jesus and who lived in the area. So, are you going to believe it?

    Hopefully not. And the reason you wouldn’t believe it, even if it was written by a famous Roman historian or someone like that, is that it’s ridiculous. Believing the gospels requires you to believe, inter alia, that God exists and had a son, that a virgin gave birth, that a man multiplied loaves and fishes, turned water into wine, and raised the dead, and that he came back to life after being murdered. Since these things are either impossible or unknowable to the writer, anyone who claims them must be confabulating, lying, or writing a work of fiction. If that isn’t your principal reason, almost to the exclusion of all other reasons, for disbelieving the gospels, you aren’t competent to critically analyze the truth of texts.

    In fact, when ancient anonymous texts say fairly ordinary and believable things, like De rebus bellicis or the Gesta Francorum, we tend to believe them.

  30. 30
    AJ Milne

    Thanks Chris/#16 and eigenperson/#29 for pointing out the general vapidity of the objection, here. Truth be told, I’d started one of those. And then got this anxiety about being the in-house pedant or somethin’. And then was relieved to see yours’.

    Another point about the inversion being absolutely no guarantee: the Book of Mormon, Dianetics, both are not at all anonymous. This helps neither of their claims in the least. Nor would anonymity somehow hurt them, I’d think, much. Start with zero credibility purely on the grounds of content, who’s signed the bottom or not isn’t especially material.

    Now, in my view, the provenance of the gospels is maybe part of the issue, on top of the host of other problems already brought up, but that’s not quite the same thing; it’s not so much about ‘anonymity’ on its own as the sourcing, the evolution of the texts, so on, and again, that’s just a tiny bit of the whole thing. But note that none of this is much parallel in what PZ brought forward.

    Note also that anonymous accounts have real value, for a lot of what we deal with in and around exit from religion, unbelievers trying to make their way in communities that may make that very difficult. Dennet and LaScola’s non-believing clergy are anonymous in the account we read, but gave their testimony directly to those authors. Do we say, oh, that’s ‘spreading rumours’, there, too? Or do we get: sometimes, that’s the only way to get the information, and for obvious enough reasons.

    I’m filing this under ‘stupid things people say trying to twist reason to make a point neither the facts nor reason at all lend themselves to’.

  31. 31
    notsont

    I know Bugs Bunny used to use it all the time, but maroon is actually a racial slur

    Heh, I thought it was a gooey delicious cookie.

  32. 32
    leftwingfox

    I just realized, this standard would make any scientific paper based on surveys or patient self-reporting UNACCEPTABLE, since they’re all anonymous, and as good skeptics we should’t believe them.

    Good illustration of what eigenperson and Chris Lawson have astutely pointed out. At worst anonymity obscures some of the factors in trying to decide whether an event happened. Controlled responses, trusted or accountable intermediaries, patterns of behaviour, physical evidence, and prior likelihood of events all factor into whether an anonymous account is true or false.

  33. 33
    Jackie

    Mr. Deity is swimming in toxic levels of sexism and male privilege.

    I don’t think I’ll ever want to hear another thing that asshole has to say.

  34. 34
    Anthony K

    Thanks for the transcript, John! Appreciate being able to parse it without having to listen.

  35. 35
    don1

    Damn, this is depressing. I liked Dalton but that speech was all about sticking up for the buddy and nothing else.

  36. 36
    don1

    ‘maroon’ is not a racist slur. It may well be able-ist as it was Bug’s version of moron. The idea that slave ships would take the time to maroon a troublesome slave rather than just drop them over-board is absurd. Marooning was a way to get rid of troublesome crew, who you were not allowed to kill out of hand. Even if you were a pirate there were rules.

    Maroon was also used to describe slaves who had run off and found some form of life with local tribes, meaning more or less ‘feral’ or ‘gone wild’.

  37. 37
    CJO

    [Person with wine bottle approaches wineglass-holding Mr. Deity: "would you like a refill?" "Um, no. Thank you."]
    Now. See how easy that was?

    It strikes me that this is exactly backward in context.

    Try this for a better picture of what’s going on in reality:
    [Mr. Deity with wine bottle approaches (already tipsy, perhaps star-struck) wineglass-holding person: "would you like a refill?"]
    Now. See how easy that was?
    Easy for you, asshole; maybe not so much when the casting director has actually read the script.

  38. 38
    johnthedrunkard

    Really disgusting. Shocking to think he would be willing to be such an ass in public.

    Thanks for transcribing, you must have needed to shower with scouring powder afterwards.

    There is a secondary issue in the blanket refusal of some communities/clans to address the existence of alcoholism.

    1. Some people are NOT ABLE to make, and act upon, decisions about their alcohol consumption once they are under the influenct.
    2. Some of those people will be vulnerable to predators. They don’t have to be uncoscious. They may consent to, or even initiate, actions they would never do in normal circumstances.

    How often do people drive drunk? Are they Lacking Backbone when they make the impaired decision? Being drunk makes you more likely to run someone over, but it can also make you more likely to walk into traffic.

    3. Worth noticing too, how often the perpetrators are chemically impaired as well. Being bigger than the victim, and allowing for differences in alcohol metabolism between sexes. Victim blaming is a massive demonstration of rationalization and denial.

  39. 39
    601

    …no good skeptic, atheist, freethinker should ever accept any anonymous report just offhand; aah especially when we’re talking about something truly awful.

    I kept waiting for the punchline until I realized, the joke was on me. DISAPPOINTED!

    Coincidentally, I just ran across an interview with @mujtahidd, who tweets truth to Saudi power anonymously – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mujtahid_Bin_Hareth_Bin_Hammaam

    Ironically… anonymity boosts my credibility and encourages people to follow me and talk about my stories without worry.

    The regime can destroy your credibility easily and deter people from dealing with you if your identity is public.

    Reputation is critical to a functioning society (see Game Theory). But we have yet to find a suitable way to translate traditional biosphere communication systems (e.g. gossip and such) to the blogosphere. However, in contrast, I notice that propaganda seems quite at home on the internet.

  40. 40
    sonofrojblake

    “Some people are NOT ABLE to make, and act upon, decisions about their alcohol consumption once they are under the influenct”

    Indeed. One example of such people is children. And that’s why it’s illegal for children to consume alcohol – because we can’t expect them to take adult responsibility for the decision to get under the influence in the first place. Adults, on the other hand, are expected to be able to take a decision based on their own known reaction to alcohol, and to drink, or not, and to take responsibility for the consequences of that decision.

    “How often do people drive drunk? Are they Lacking Backbone when they make the impaired decision?”

    You appear to be trying to excuse drunk driving. Good luck with that.

    The decision that Lacks Backbone is the decision TO DRINK (and/or continue drinking), when you know that drinking causes you to make decisions you regret. Really: not drinking is easy. I’m *AMAZED* this is even an issue in the US, a country that seems to this UK resident already unbelievably uptight about alcohol consumption.

  41. 41
    kellym

    Steve A.E. @27 wrote:

    Dang. I just saw that Ophelia was already discussing the Dalton-as-2014-speaker thing on Twitter, and someone there pointed out, correctly, that David Silverman on YouTube yesterday Liked the rotten video. Troubling.

    I used the American Atheists Contact Us form to complain and got this response a few minutes later:
    Kelly,

    Thank you for your message. Our president happens to be on vacation this week and is out of the office, but I’m SURE he didn’t watch the video past the credits before tweeting that—I didn’t do so myself until someone pointed it out to me. I have never known him to victim-blame or perpetuate rape culture in any way, shape, or form. In fact one of the reasons I wanted to work for American Atheists in the first place (I started here about six months ago) is that American Atheists was the first of all the atheist orgs to enact a harassment policy at their conventions and events following Rebecca Watson’s talk about her experience on the elevator at the conference in Ireland three years ago. Every single one of us on staff identifies as a feminist and although I can’t speak for him directly, I’m certain it wasn’t intentional. Thank you again for telling us about your concerns.

    Sincerely,
    Dave Muscato

    I was absolutely stunned. I think American Atheists may be an atheist organization that does not, in actual practice, give support to sexual harassment. In contrast, I’ve never received a response from CFI for my over two-page paper letter to the Board of Directors, nor a response to my Contact Us submission. Both of which were far more polite than I was to American Atheists. (I stopped supporting the JREF without sending them feedback.)

    I responded back that I’m purchasing a membership in American Atheists.

  42. 42
    Inaji

    KellyM, *thank you!* That gives me hope, and that’s one helluva gift in the midst of so much doucheweasel doubling down.

    Thank you, Dave Muscato, and I really hope David Silverman comes through on this.

  43. 43
    Anthony K

    Wow, that is encouraging, KellyM!

  44. 44
    Ophelia Benson

    Nice, Kelly, thank you. That conforms to what I know of American Atheists and of Dave Silverman.

  45. 45
    skeptifem

    david silverman has been pretty cool through the previous sexism scandals. I am eager to see some more positive stuff from american atheists.

  46. 46
    Steve A.E.

    Yeah, KellyM, I’ll just echo the others here in appreciating your contacting American Atheists like that and conveying that response, which is indeed quite encouraging.

  47. 47
    Forbidden Snowflake

    In an experiment investigating overeating, subjects who ate soup from self-refilling bowls had, on average, 73% more than subjects who ate from regular bowls they could refill by themselves. And this is mere soup, – that, unlike alcohol, does not diminish the eater’s mental capacities with every sip of its soupy goodness.

    This is why the “If you drink more than you planned, you must lack personal responsibility” spiel has been bugging me so much: because it’s a sheer denial of science (which seems to say that yes, it’s easy to make people overeat or overdrink simply by making them unable to count portions; we humans are stupid that way) in favor of a faith-based belief in autonomous souls with free will (aka libertarian theory of psychology).

  48. 48
    Eamon Knight

    you must lack personal responsibility

    Yes. Most of us are responsible about some things and/or in some situations, not so much about or in others — it’s not an absolute. A rational and humane society is one that makes allowances for some (though not any and all) level of human fallibility. It may or may not be “irresponsible” of me to get stinko, but it’s even more “irresponsible” for someone else to take advantage of my incapacitated state.

  49. 49
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    It seems that Brian Dalton has never met a young person who has not yet learned to resist peer pressure or hold their liquor, control their drinking, and leave a glass full without sipping it; nor an undiagnosed or active alcoholic; nor an impulsive or distractable person who has trouble not drinking what’s put before them; nor, for that matter, a host who becomes hostile when people refuse drinks, a creep who encourages women to drink to much or switches their drinks or stealthily pours more gin than ginger ale. He has never learned that having a few drinks inhibits the will power to turn down a few more. He wants women to take personal responsibility for their drinking and says nothing about men’s personal responsibility not to rape the vulnerable and incapable.

    Considering that surveys of male college students show that by that age, 23% have coerced or bullied unwilling women into having sex, with about 7% using force (victims report 8%, perpetrators 3%). Surveys of high-school males find that 50% believe it is acceptable to hold down a girl and force her to have intercourse.

    Furthermore, 35% of them say they would consider committing rape if they were sure of getting away with it. Both those males and of rapists show callous attitudes towards rape, believe rape myths (such as that women enjoy rape), and are sexually aroused by descriptions of rape. Likelihood of raping is associated with a desire to hurt women, anger, and aggressive behavior.

    If anyone needs to be lectured and educated as to proper behavior, it’s the guys!

  50. 50
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Sorry, with “Furthermore” I’ve switched back to college-age males. And, of course, it’s “drink too much in the first paragraph.

    Good news about American Atheists & David Silverman. He has always seemed refreshingly uncreepy. I really hope that they rescind their invitation to Brian Dalton.

  51. 51
    Acolyte of Sagan

    17.
    chrislawson
    August 15, 2013 at 3:54 am (UTC -7) Link to this comment

    So, mofa, Are you and Mr Deity really saying that if a woman is raped while drunk it’s her own fault for drinking too much? Are you really saying that?

    Oh nooo, they’re saying that it’s not rape because a woman accepting a second glass of wine is a woman giving consent for sex. They’re saying that the very act of a woman imbibing alcohol is exactly equivalent to consent.

    And just what the fuck is going on here anyway?
    When we atheists point out to believers that their chosen deity causes bad things to happen to people they will respond that we are misinterpreting said deity’s actions, or re-define ‘bad’ in a special deistic-only way, and always blame those to whom the bad things happened.
    And we tend to despise those people for trying to justify bad.
    Yet so many of those who will call out the religious on their defence of the indefencible are doing exactly the same thing.

  52. 52
    Acolyte of Sagan

    And I should have finished that last post; ‘…..exactly the same thing, and have the temerity to act shocked when called out for it.’ It’s almost as if they want to live up to the idea put forth by the religious that organised atheism is just another religion.

  1. 53
    Mr. Deity and the Victim-Blaming and Dismissiveness of Serious Allegations » Lousy Canuck

    […] Trigger warning for discussion of rape tactics and victim-blaming. Transcript via John Morales: […]

  2. 54
    The Tendency to See Only What We Want to See | Dubito Ergo Sum

    […] is one of many reasons why it’s so weird to be accused of seeing only what I want to see. Because as a straight, white, able-bodied, cisgendered, educated middle-class man, I have the […]

  3. 55
    On Being Disillusioned By Heroes… or, No, I Am Not Bloody Well Happy to Hear Horrible Things About the People I Admired » Greta Christina's Blog

    […] Dalton, a.k.a. Mr. Deity, responding to reports of sexual harassment, assault and rape being made against prominent figures in the […]

  4. 56
    Guest post by Bruce Everett: The Good Juror Pose » Butterflies and Wheels

    […] Yes, inferring from the general directly to the specific is a logical fallacy, but what if you make communicating like this with people who claim to have been raped a general policy? Probability comes into play again, and it is probable that if you keep it up, you’re going to be hectoring people who have been raped. Dalton gives no indication that he is singling Angie out for special treatment, so we can be reasonably safe in assuming that this is a general policy for him, even if not on the basis of his past form. […]

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