The Girl Summit »« In the world

Credit where it’s due

There was a sudden influx of first-time commenters, which puzzled me for a minute and then I realized Glenn must have responded (without contacting me directly, which I thought we were supposed to do, because she just said that…), so I looked at her Twitter and saw this:

glenn2

JaclynGlenn @JaclynGlenn

Haha you look good in green!
FYI I didn’t write this bio. You can credit it (and the website) to @cultofdusty xD

I’m not sure what the “Haha you look good in green!” means. Is it that I’m jealous? I dunno.

I’m not going to contact her directly to ask, though, because I don’t want to talk to her. She doesn’t interest me. I think the harm she is doing with her anti-feminist videos is worth talking about, but that doesn’t mean I think she herself is interesting, and I don’t.

She also responded (without contacting me directly) on Facebook.

jacg2

13 mutual friends…

Even though I said I don’t have any friends who are friends with her.

Yes, that’s right. I didn’t mean Facebook friends, not all of whom are friends. I meant actual friends, who are actual friends with her. I’m sure if I wanted to contact her directly I could find someone who would share her email address. That wasn’t what I meant. No, I’m not going to ask one or another Facebook friend to help me contact Glenn. In any case that was only item one. Item two was much more important:

Two – what she argues there makes no sense. She put out her video in public, so why shouldn’t I or anyone write about it in public? Why on earth does she expect people to have a personal conversation with her first? I don’t know her, I don’t have any friends who know her that I’m aware of, I don’t have connections with her, I don’t have a history of talking to her – why would I try to talk to her before I write about a YouTube video of hers? She has two hundred thousandsubscribers – that’s the population of a small city. Why would I have to ask her what she meant in her video when her video is already out there? What is made public is what is made public; it doesn’t matter what the intentions were, what matters is what is made public. If she didn’t make herself clear, she can make another video to make herself clear, but it’s not my job or any critic’s job to interview her before criticizing her video. She didn’t interview me before bashing feminism, did she.

She puts out videos without consulting me. I’m allowed to criticize her videos without consulting her. It’s that simple.

Comments

  1. says

    “CultOfDusty”, the one who has been engaging in holocaust denial** on his Facebook page? Great company there, Dawkins -> Jaclyn then links to an MRA who threatens rape survivors with rape and an anti-Semite. One degree of separation from “the man”, pretty sure Dusty and TAA will be careful not to criticise any of Jaclyns feminism-lite, assuming we ever see it again.

    But remember folks, it’s atheismplus making us all look bad!

    (** Oh I know he denies his denial, irony! Especially so given in his actual “denial” he states the 6 million figure is wrong, cos he is skeptical and all, presumably not like those Jews who carefully documented the deaths. But someone who says this -. “I have nothing against the Jewish people, but if one people or another has been trying to wipe you out over and over for thousands of years, at some point you might want to ask, “Maybe its us!”” — then hosts a bunch of deniers spewing out the usual crap. Yeah, no. Icing on the cake is that after someone saying only 270K died, Jews funded the holocaust, the only good Jew is a dead Jew, he says he’s seen no racism in the thread. Although he did tell someone that racism against Jews is impossible, as they are not a race. So there is that.)

  2. Anthony K says

    What’s with every atheist thinking every other atheist is out for self-aggrandizement? Whether it’s the Slymepit or this half-wit, there are only two motivations that seem to occur to them: the desire to be the most popular person at a con or to be fucking the most popular person at a con. Is their world really that simple? Are they that unformed as people? Are they that partial? How superficial and sad.

    But really, how do they expect to convince theists—who are complex individuals with complex motivations—of anything if they cannot themselves even fathom those motivations?

  3. Anthony K says

    I don’t know what The Cult of Dusty is. Man, I’ll never get blown by Dawkins at this rate. WHATS THE POINT OF EVEN ATHEISTING *SOB*?!?

  4. says

    in his actual “denial” he states the 6 million figure is wrong, cos he is skeptical and all, presumably not like those Jews who carefully documented the deaths. But someone who says this -. “I have nothing against the Jewish people, but if one people or another has been trying to wipe you out over and over for thousands of years, at some point you might want to ask, “Maybe its us!”” — then hosts a bunch of deniers spewing out the usual crap. Yeah, no. Icing on the cake is that after someone saying only 270K died, Jews funded the holocaust, the only good Jew is a dead Jew, he says he’s seen no racism in the thread. Although he did tell someone that racism against Jews is impossible, as they are not a race. So there is that.

    I CAN’T TAKE THESE DESPICABLE PEOPLE ANY MORE.

    You, Richard Dawkins, are contributing to this. This is going to be your legacy.

  5. Reality_based_community says

    Seriously? Well, I must say that this little episode has escalated rather quickly. JG has a point, one that confirms my own experiences on many occasions, not least your own site PZ. Just speaking frankly. JG was making the a point not against feminism per se, nor against anything re substantive ideas. Rather, it was against the mode of argumentation that treats any deviation from a narrow orthodoxy as high treason. Even when you agree on the vast majority of substantive issues. I’ve seen it countless times. Continue down this path and you’ll have a situation in which every two people is a party, and every three people are a party and a splinter faction. It all seems driven rather by ego to me, and be personality and by stylistic differences rather than substantive differences. JG has a valid point. The style she’s attacking inhibits open, honest and free dialog among people who should be allies, and rather quickly degenerates into name calling and petty squabbling over inconsequential bullshit. Let’s get it together man. Keep your wits about you. On all sides.

  6. says

    I’ve seen a few of Dusty’s videos. He’s loud and passionate, and I think those are good things, and he has a strong southern accent, and we need more of those voices in atheism, too. But, well, if you listen to that video by c0nc0rdance, the first bit is a complaint about him.

  7. says

    Yeah, Dusty, Glenn, and the Amazing Atheist are all teamed up and peddling something called “Logic-Wear” — shirts with the word “Logic” on them. It seems to be the youtube way: be really loud and stupid, and call it logic. Pythagoras, Aristotle, and Plato are all facepalming down in Hades right now.

  8. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    It’s hard, I know.

    Snorfl.

    Chortle.

    Guffaw.

    LOL

    ROFL

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  9. says

    Yeah, Dusty, Glenn, and the Amazing Atheist are all teamed up and peddling something called “Logic-Wear” — shirts with the word “Logic” on them.

    So they’ve teamed up on a commercial enterprise to fleece the sheep? Oh yeah, I dial up my previous guess that their commitment to free thought and criticism of each other will be severely impeded.

  10. Jackie says

    What’s to be jealous of?

    The poorly produced videos?
    The lack of content or reasoning in those videos?
    That she pals around with a misogynist who make rape threats?
    That she hawks T-shirts with a word she doesn’t understand on it?
    That she’s so full of herself that she thinks people need to criticize her public videos in private?
    That she plagiarizes Youtube comments and tweets?

    She isn’t smart, well informed or funny. She’s got a following because she’s telling the douchebro, manbaby, asshole atheists what they want to hear. Sucking up to the status quo isn’t edgy or rare. It certainly isn’t to be admired or envied. She’s a nitwit I had never heard of until she said something stupid about feminists and St. Dawkins decided that made her the sort of female atheist he could promote rather than try to blacklist.

  11. rorschach says

    She’s got a following because she’s telling the douchebro, manbaby, asshole atheists what they want to hear. Sucking up to the status quo isn’t edgy or rare. It certainly isn’t to be admired or envied. She’s a nitwit I had never heard of until she said something stupid about feminists and St. Dawkins decided that made her the sort of female atheist he could promote rather than try to blacklist.

    As astute a summary as I have seen. Well done.

  12. says

    @reality_based_community: Here’s a completely hypothetical situation. Let’s say you have an online community of knitters. They blog about knitting, go to knitting-based conferences, and generally promote knitting to the masses. Over time, some of these knitting bloggers realize they also agree on some other issues, like for instance feminism. They start blogging about feminist issues in addition to knitting, and other knitters hit them with abuse and harassment for shoving feminism down the throats of the knitting community and tainting knitting with feminism. Women especially receive torrents of hate and abuse whenever they speak out about feminist issues or, heaven forbid, sexist behaviors in the knitting community. After several years of this, these feminist knitters decide that they’ve had enough. Keep the knitting community, they say, we’ll do our own thing: Knitting+. This only steps up the vitriol and abuse. People are bullied off the Internet, harassed all over social media, for trying to take over knitting or make a power play or create deep rifts. They’re tainting knitting! Even after most of the feminist knitters have stopped using the “Knitting+” label, antifeminist knitters still use the term as a derisive rallying cry against the feminist knitters, making videos caricaturing them, calling them pussies, monitoring everything they say or do to have ammunition for snide comments and lengthy rants.

    In this purely hypothetical scenario, exactly which group is it that treats any deviation from orthodoxy as high treason?

  13. A Hermit says

    I would like to present Tom Foss with today’s prize internet…I knitted it myself!

  14. Reality_based_community says

    @Tom – I didn’t notice anything in JG’s video that was vitriolic. She attacked nobody personally. She didn’t attack feminism. She didn’t attack knitters, or knitters+. She did use the term “radical feminists” in the title of her video, which I think was inappropriate, but the content of the vid was not itself in any way offensive as far as I can see. True, many of the comments on her thread were somewhat vitriolic and abrasive, but such is the intertubes, a medium that seems to bring out the worst in some people for reasons I don’t fully understand. For example, have a look at this very thread with the numerous personal attacks. What, exactly, is supposed to be accomplished here? Sure, the trio referenced by PZ sells t-shirts. Dusty uses drugs. JG isn’t a rocket surgeon but is a sometimes clever satirist (IMHO). So what? Some of those things may or may not be desirable. Who cares? If this community is unable or unwilling to elevate the discourse above a junior high grade level of sniping, then it is surely doomed to failure, and deservedly so.

  15. says

    @Reality-Based-Community

    What is JG’s point, exactly? What, specifically, is she ‘satirizing’? What actual issue is she supposedly addressing?

    All I’ve seen from her is setting up strawmen and ineptly knocking them down, but looking purty when doing it.

  16. thephilosophicalprimate says

    I can’t tell whether the concern troll is concerned about tone, or the tone troll is simply tone-deaf.

  17. says

    If this community is unable or unwilling to elevate the discourse above a junior high grade level of sniping, then it is surely doomed to failure, and deservedly so.

    So, is this your official permission slip for everyone to blame the failure (whatever that would mean) of “this community” (whatever that is) on you, Jaclyn Glenn, or both? Can we also include the passionate defenders of the right to use the word “cunt” in any context without encountering negative reactions in that umbrella of responsibility?

  18. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Reality_based_community @23:

    JG isn’t a rocket surgeon but is a sometimes clever satirist (IMHO).

    Your humility befits your judgement.

  19. says

    Watch those goalposts fly!

    Just so we’re clear, what grade level of sniping is it when you call people pussies and put on costumes to make fun of them?

  20. Reality_based_community says

    @within “What is JG’s point, exactly? What, specifically, is she ‘satirizing’? What actual issue is she supposedly addressing?”

    I took her to be speaking against all the battlelines being drawn down to the exact minute, degree and second. Are you seriously saying you have experienced this?

  21. Reality_based_community says

    @Sally –

    “So, is this your official permission slip” I never claimed or implied that I was in a position to grant or withdraw permission for anything.

    “for everyone to blame the failure (whatever that would mean)” – I assume there is some intent and purpose in all of this activity on the intertubes, though I certainly recognize that I could be wrong about that. If so, I would assume that failure would be in *not* furthering that aim or purpose.

    “of “this community” (whatever that is)” – community would be a voluntary gathering or more or less like-minded individuals. In the best case scenario, such a gathering would even be cordial, kind and caring toward one another. Guess it’s the old hippie still in me.

    on you, Jaclyn Glenn, or both? – I’d have to say neither.

    “Can we also include the passionate defenders of the right to use the word “cunt” in any context without encountering negative reactions in that umbrella of responsibility?” – I don’t think one should include that sort of behavior in what I’m talking about. Sorry if that was anywhere implied in anything I said.

  22. Reality_based_community says

    @John – “Your humility befits your judgement.”

    No accounting for taste John. I suggest if you find nothing of value in her vids, then don’t watch them. And we could all use a little more humility.

  23. Reality_based_community says

    @Tom “Just so we’re clear, what grade level of sniping is it when you call people pussies and put on costumes to make fun of them?”

    I may not be well-versed enough to discern all of the personalities involved here, but I didn’t interpret her as making fun of any particular individual so much as a common attitude. I also missed the part where she called anybody a pussy.

  24. says

    I may not be well-versed enough to discern all of the personalities involved here, but I didn’t interpret her as making fun of any particular individual so much as a common attitude.

    So mocking a specific person is junior high level sniping, mocking a nonspecific group of people is clever satire. Got it.

    As for the “pussies” thing, that would be the video that kicked this back-and-forth off, originally entitled “Atheism + Pussies,” later changed to the more dogwhistley “Atheism + Drama,” but still having the description “A video about Atheism+ and pussies. How appropriate. For those of you wondering- Atheism + is pretty much atheism plus radical feminism. This is my skit explaining my feelings on it ;).”

    Now, there’s a pretty specific group of people who identify/identified as Atheism+, and they would be the first to tell you that there’s nothing really radical about their feminism, for the most part–radical feminism being an actual term with actual meaning, that is. What’s that called, where you lie about an opponent’s position to make it easier to attack? What grade do they teach that one in?

  25. says

    Reality_based_community @ 31 – please don’t reduce this to “if you find nothing of value in her vids, then don’t watch them.” That’s beside the point. Harm is different from valueless. If Glenn’s videos were simply valueless, I wouldn’t bother to criticize them.

  26. Reality_based_community says

    @tom “As for the “pussies” thing, that would be the video that kicked this back-and-forth off, originally entitled “Atheism + Pussies,” later changed to the more dogwhistley “Atheism + Drama,” but still having the description “A video about Atheism+ and pussies. ”

    ok, fair enough. I hadn’t realized that was the original title. JG too shouldn’t be contributing to the “drama,” and that certainly isn’t the most productive discourse.

  27. John Morales says

    Reality_based_community @31:

    No accounting for taste John. I suggest if you find nothing of value in her vids, then don’t watch them. And we could all use a little more humility.

    Tricky concept, humility, and perhaps you have less of it than you imagine, though you I think you merit more than you accord yourself.

    (How much of it do you accord the “clever satirist”?)

  28. Reality_based_community says

    @john “Tricky concept, humility, and perhaps you have less of it than you imagine, though you I think you merit more than you accord yourself.”

    It is indeed a tricky concept. I have enough of it, I suppose, to not turn every encounter into a pissing contest.

  29. John Morales says

    Fine, Reality_based_community, care to adumbrate in which manner the featured video (I saw about half) employed clever satire to the degree that it sustains your ostensibly humble opinion?

    (Perhaps it matters more whether it’s warranted than whether it’s humble?)

  30. Reality_based_community says

    Ophelia – Reality_based_community @ 31 –
    ‘please don’t reduce this to “if you find nothing of value in her vids, then don’t watch them.” That’s beside the point. Harm is different from valueless. If Glenn’s videos were simply valueless, I wouldn’t bother to criticize them.”

    I’ve conceded the inappropriate title, the inappropriate use of the term “radical feminist,” among other things. But seriously, in what way is she harmful? I’m honestly not trolling for an argument (I have a professional I pay for that). My only point is that the items of disagreements between you, Atheism +, and, say JG or Dusty or Richard Dawkins (???? ) are greatly magnified out of all proportion. Or so it appears to me. I’ll grant that Dawkins notorious tweet re R. Watson was not appropriate; and that R. Watson was right to speak up about “elevatorgate.” But was that the initial rift that has set this whole thing in motion? Seriously? It’s easy to feel personally attacked on the internet. All I’m suggesting that if you folks agree on virtually everything, so why not try to bridge any differences, or put as much effort into it as people seem to do magnifying differences? I’m not saying that the onus is necessarily on you or on JG or anybody in particular. But somebody should rise above it, as difficult as that is to do sometimes.

  31. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Reality_based_community @39:

    But somebody should rise above it, as difficult as that is to do sometimes.

    Humbling humility, right there.

    (I take it you have managed this difficult feat)

  32. Reality_based_community says

    @john – “Fine, Reality_based_community, care to adumbrate in which manner the featured video (I saw about half) employed clever satire to the degree that it sustains your ostensibly humble opinion?”

    *crackle* PUT DOWN THE THESAURUS, AND SLOWLY BACK AWAY, *crackle* Just humor, don’t take it personally :) But that’s really the point. I’m not a movie critic, and I don’t particularly feel the need to defend my sense of humor. Also, possessing a sense of humor is a good thing. It sort of goes hand-in-hand with humility and the ability to laugh at ourselves. Just sayin’.

    BTW, not that I at all mind polysyllabic terms, but at times their use can seem forced, contrived, and rather cumbersome. Sometimes less is more.

  33. Reality_based_community says

    @john – “Humbling humility, right there.

    (I take it you have managed this difficult feat)”

    Well, I’m talking to you with absolutely no malice, condescension or insulting behavior. Even though the courtesy isn’t exactly returned.

  34. John Morales says

    Reality_based_community @41, you could just have written “no”, or even “no, I don’t care to”.

    I put it to you nothing I have seen of hers merits that opinion, and that you have nothing to offer in support of it, humble as it is.

    (Of what worth your mere indefensible opinion, then?)

  35. Reality_based_community says

    @john.

    Reality_based_community @41, you could just have written “no”, or even “no, I don’t care to”.

    I put it to you nothing I have seen of hers merits that opinion, and that you have nothing to offer in support of it, humble as it is.

    (Of what worth your mere indefensible opinion, then?)

    I could have written many different things, John. Such is the contingent universe that we inhabit. So you have a different opinion about humor. So frickin’ what. Perhaps you do or don’t like Monty Python, or Woody Allan, the Marx Brothers or the Three Stooges. You really expect a treatise on why I may or may not like any or all of these things? Why I might find JG humorous? Jumpin’ Jeezuz on a Pogo Stick, you are surly and argumentative for no apparent reason.

  36. John Morales says

    Reality_based_community @44, you weren’t so coy @29.

    But I here bow out, because I suspect I’ve pushed Ophelia’s tolerance. Sorry.

  37. says

    There’s an unspoken implication behind all the “stop dividing the community! We should work together instead of squabbling!” cries, and it’s that whatever issue is supposedly so contentious, so divisive, is unimportant. Reality_based_community more or less said as much above, though I don’t suspect they have enough experience in this community to realize what they dismissed as “petty squabbling over inconsequential bullshit.” R_b_c’s experience on the Deep Rifts seems limited to the claims made by YouTube atheists and a vague understanding that there was something called “elevatorgate” that involved Rebecca Watson and Richard Dawkins. R_b_c is admittedly unaware of the various debacles over the c-word, and seems unaware of the fight over conference harassment policies, the blacklisting of Rebecca Watson from conferences, the Monument at erv and subsequently the Slymepit, the ongoing targeted harassment of Jen McCreight and Melody Hensley and Amy Davis Roth and Ashley Miller and Carrie Poppy and Karen Stollznow and Stephanie Zvan and our host and however many others, the actual and implied threats of violence, the “would it be wrong to rape a Skepchick” thread on Rationalia, the allegations of rape and assault and harassment by community luminaries, the dismissal of said claims by leaders of organizations, and the continued treatment of minority issues in the community as debatable, disposable, and negotiable. R_b_c hasn’t read Alex Gabriel’s recent post where he rounds up some of the more memorable reasons, and there are certainly many more that aren’t mentioned there but are easily discovered through blogs on this network.

    Sorry, tangent there. When people like R_b_c see all that and say “but ignore that petty bullshit and work on the real problems,” they’re saying that issues of equitable treatment, of harassment and bullying, of equal representation on panels, of objectification, of child care at conferences, of reproductive rights, of women’s issues and queer issues and race issues and disability issues and mental health issues, are not as important as the common goal of combating religious privilege and reinforcing the wall of separation of church and state.

    Surely by pure coincidence, this is also the only set of those issues that directly affects straight white able-bodied cisgendered heterosexual men. Intentional or not, this has the effect of telling minorities, as minorities are so often told in our culture, that the majority’s issues matter most, all other concerns are fringe issues, and we’ll deal with those when the real work is done.

    Reality_based_community, can you see why this may make people unwilling to band together on some common goal? Can you see why women might have issues allying themselves with men and others who think of them primarily as sex objects? Can you see why neurodiverse people might have issues allying themselves with people who think they are inherently less capable of reason? Can you see why trans* people might have issues allying themselves with people who think they are deluded because they learned everything about gender in ninth grade biology? Can you see why minorities and people who value and respect them keep deciding to focus on those “fringe” issues when a large sector of the atheist movement doesn’t think those issues have merit?

    You said “somebody should rise above it, as difficult as that is to do sometimes.” I agree. A bunch of us agreed two years ago and decided to do what the antifeminists and harassers had been demanding since that elevator incident, and make our own thing. We tried to unite our common interests in social justice under a single umbrella, called Atheism+.

    And the harassers, the bullies, the antifeminists, the Slymepitters did everything possible to tear it down.

    We did our part and are still getting metaphorically kicked in the teeth for it. You want to complain about pettiness and divisiveness? You’re in the wrong fucking department.

  38. Jack Stone says

    @19

    So, A+ can describe its struggles and agenda in terms acceptable to its time and culture like every group to ever exist. What however if K+ were to frame itself as progress for knitting, even its future? What if they were to imply they were reacting to the consequences of being involved in knitting, while others were ignoring them? Knitting it seems is not truely knitting outside of K+. Those who oppose K+ support the degradation of knitting. It represents a preordained victory to purify knitting.

    The analogy is growing silly, which is not the point. A+ shares with every dogma I know considerably more social pressure to agree with its tenets than reason to support those beliefs as derived from a common philosophy.

  39. Reality_based_community says

    @tom “Sorry, tangent there. When people like R_b_c see all that and say “but ignore that petty bullshit and work on the real problems,” they’re saying that issues of equitable treatment, of harassment and bullying, of equal representation on panels, of objectification, of child care at conferences, of reproductive rights, of women’s issues and queer issues and race issues and disability issues and mental health issues, are not as important as the common goal of combating religious privilege and reinforcing the wall of separation of church and state.”

    No, I’m not saying any of those things. If you see those things, call them out, and I’ll support it wholeheartedly. I admit, I am not aware of all the incidents you mention, or all of the internecine warfare among you folks. I’m aware of some of them. This JG kerfuffle, is, though, inconsequential bullshit as far as I can see. I’ve spent time and money and protesting energy on many of the issues you mention. I just don’t see that the source of all those problems is Richard Dawkins or Dusty or JG. In fact, I suspect that all of them would totally agree with you. Perhaps I’m wrong…I’ve seen this in other communities. Among my progressive friends, I was attacked for opposing hate crime laws out of principle for the first amendment, even though we agreed about *everything* else. Anybody who harassed or threatened anybody should be shunned, and you’ll inevitably get that sort of thing in the internet age. It’s rather sad and pathetic, I agree. My only point is why create fissures where none seem to exist?

  40. Galactic Fork says

    Reality_based_community:

    Among my progressive friends, I was attacked for opposing hate crime laws out of principle for the first amendment, even though we agreed about *everything* else.

    See what you did here? First you characterize your progressive friends as “attacking you”. Did they verbally attack you? harrass you? call you names? Violently attack you? “Attack” is a very aggressive word. (One that TAA used to describe PZ Myers’s critique of Jaclyn Glenn’s video Atheism + Pussies, which TAA framed as “daring not to call herself an feminist.”) So what did they do that constituted an attack? Calling something an attack is often used to minimize opposing argument.

    And it makes no difference if you agree on everything else. Just because this one thing isn’t important to you, doesn’t mean it’s not importain to them. That kind of statement also serves to minimize their position.

    My only point is why create fissures where none seem to exist?

    The fissures are there. You just want the issues ignored because hey, we agree on all these other things, we should just shut up about this stuff because that’s not important to you.

  41. says

    No, I’m not saying any of those things.

    Yes you fucking well are. Denying it doesn’t make it less true. Maybe you should think through all the implications of what you’re saying more, because that is the clear implication of everything you’ve said so far: that “issues of equitable treatment, of harassment and bullying, of equal representation on panels, of objectification, of child care at conferences, of reproductive rights, of women’s issues and queer issues and race issues and disability issues and mental health issues, are not as important as the common goal of combating religious privilege and reinforcing the wall of separation of church and state.” That really, really is exactly what you’re saying. If that’s not what you MEAN to say then you are fucking up with your communication very badly and you need to fix that ASAP.

    If you see those things, call them out,

    Nobody needs your permission.

    and I’ll support it wholeheartedly.

    So the fuck what? What is it worth, exactly, the support of a pigheaded fool who wades into the middle of long-standing important arguments without the requisite knowledge to offer useful advice and offers advice anyway?

    I admit, I am not aware of all the incidents you mention, or all of the internecine warfare among you folks. I’m aware of some of them.

    You still aren’t aware of all the “incidents”. You have no idea what they signify nor why they happened. Yet you’re still yammering on like someone whose opinion is informed. Stop it. Stop embarrassing yourself.

    This JG kerfuffle, is, though, inconsequential bullshit as far as I can see.

    Given that you appear to be more myopic than a blind bat, “as far as I can see” is setting the bar extremely low in terms of consequentiality.

    I’ve spent time and money and protesting energy on many of the issues you mention.

    Here’s your fucking cookie. So what?

    I just don’t see that the source of all those problems is Richard Dawkins or Dusty or JG.

    THE SOURCE, you ignoranus, is bigotry in all its forms, primarily misogyny in this case. Pay a TINY bit of attention, please.

    In fact, I suspect that all of them would totally agree with you. Perhaps I’m wrong…

    Maybe! It is a REMOTE possibility, though, no need to REALLY take it fully into account…

    I’ve seen this in other communities. Among my progressive friends, I was attacked for opposing hate crime laws out of principle for the first amendment, even though we agreed about *everything* else. Anybody who harassed or threatened anybody should be shunned, and you’ll inevitably get that sort of thing in the internet age. It’s rather sad and pathetic, I agree. My only point is why create fissures where none seem to exist?

    I’ve seen people–usually men–like you in my progressive communities and over the years I’ve learned that the best thing to do with people like you is create as many fissures as possible between myself and my community and people like you. Gaslighting fuckers who try to talk me into deceiving myself that the problems I can clearly see don’t exist can fuck right off. Yes, I would shun the fuck out of any group that you were in, unless you changed your behavior radically from the dishonest, arrogant, uninformed, condescending bullshit you’ve been peddling here.

  42. James O'Day says

    Shorter Reality_based_community @48

    I’m ignorant about sexism and misogyny in the atheist/skeptic community but I’ll inflict my worthless opinion on you anyway because I’m a special flower. Where’s my cookie?

  43. says

    This JG kerfuffle, is, though, inconsequential bullshit as far as I can see.

    The atheist and skeptical communities have made their names on calling out and arguing against bad arguments and strawmen. Why would we stop when those bad arguments and strawmen are coming from someone who claims to be part of the community? Why wouldn’t we argue even harder, to demonstrate what we so frequently see lacking in religious communities, namely a willingness to police their own? If atheists being irrational and behaving badly is inconsequential bullshit to other atheists, then why is it suddenly consequential when religionists do the same?

    It’s true, Jaclyn Glenn is not the source of all the misogyny and antifeminism (and ableism) in the community, she’s just a source of some of it. And she’s a prime example of how saying antifeminist things seems to be the path to YouTube stardom for atheists and skeptics, just as saying feminist things is the path to abuse and harassment. Seems like Dawkins and American Atheists only started promoting her once she started saying antifeminist things, and they certainly haven’t withdrawn their support because she opposes feminists. That sends a message, intended or not, to women in this community, that feminist concerns are not a priority for atheist movement leaders. Moreover, since I don’t see the RDF or AA promoting Rebecca Watson or Laci Green or other feminist atheist YouTubers, it sends the message that’s been clearly sent since the post-elevatorgate TAM, that feminists are not welcome or wanted in this community.

    I just don’t see that the source of all those problems is Richard Dawkins or Dusty or JG. In fact, I suspect that all of them would totally agree with you.

    Yes, on a lot of issues, I suspect they would nominally agree. Dawkins has adopted the feminist label in the past, and spent some time in The God Delusion talking about feminist consciousness-raising, and using it as a model for an atheist version of the same. But Dawkins’ idea of feminism seems to be one where western women’s biggest problems were solved when we stopped saying “fireman” and “chairman” and started saying “firefighter” and “chairperson.” Now, as long as there are Muslimas in the world, dealing with forced marriage and genital mutilation and virginity tests, western women have no business complaining about sexism or working to correct privilege in their cultures. It ties into a whole host of other issues Dawkins has with racism and Islamophobia (for lack of a better term).

    But Dawkins is someone that much of the community recognizes as a leader, so when he attacks feminists and promotes antifeminist rants, his fans take that as license to do the same. Dawkins has a lot more reach and influence than Jaclyn Glenn, but JG wouldn’t have nearly as much reach and influence if not for the Dawkins seal of approval.

    Sorry, tangent again. Point being that Dawkins may well say he agrees with equality between sexes, but his idea of what that means does not bear much resemblance to my idea, or the ideas of most feminists. Think, for example, about conservative Christians who say they believe in equality but not gay marriage, since gay people already have the same rights as everyone else to marry someone of the opposite gender. If you just asked those people “how do you feel about equality,” or even, “how do you feel about equality for gay people?” you’d get an affirmative response. And yet, that’s an attitude that needs fighting against, because even though both sides of the gay marriage issue profess belief in and agreement with equality, their ideas of equality are opposed.

    Similarly, Jaclyn Glenn would probably say that she agrees with the idea that men and women should be equal, but her idea of equality still allows people to use gendered insults that suggest women’s bodies are gross and inferior. It allows her to call disgusting misogynists like TJ Kincaid friends and feminists like Ophelia opponents. That’s not the gender equality that feminism fights for, it’s the social oppression they fight against.

    As for the rifts, they exist. No one is ginning up new unnecessary rifts, we’re just mapping out where they are. And when you align yourself with thoroughly disgusting assholes like The Amazing Atheist, well, we recognize pretty quickly what side of the rift you’re on.

  44. says

    @Jack Stone: I notice you don’t deny any of the salient points. So are you saying that A+ people framing this issue and movement they find worthwhile as such gives license to anti-A+ers to engage in their targeted abuse? Would it be similarly fair to give such license to Christians since atheists frame themselves as the future, and call religious people backwards and delusional?

    As for dogma, it seems like your point is just as easily directed at the atheist community itself. You might balk & say that it’s about coming to atheism through shared values like skepticism and reason, but the movement has sure accepted Bill Maher as a spokesperson despite his demonstrably terrible skepticism and reasoning abilities. I’d argue the same is true of a lot of popular commentators, who apply logic haphazardly at best (take, for instance, Dawkins making the ‘Dear Muslima’ argument that he’d recognize as fallacious if not for being about feminists). Isn’t this exactly the opposite of what we constantly hear from the anti-A+ crowd? “Atheism just means not believing in gods, nothing else!”

    So is atheism about a shared conclusion or a shared set of values and methodologies? If it’s the latter, when can we expect the mass disassociation of people who share the conclusion and not the methodology for reaching it? If there were such a mass disassociation, wouldn’t that also be evidence of dogma?

    Huh, it must be good logic to take some superficial (or ginned-up) similarity between two groups and use it to argue that the groups are exactly the same on other matters. Otherwise you wouldn’t have done it, right?

  45. Jack Stone says

    @54
    I don’t try to deny all of your perspective because I don’t see you as the dark side.

    Christians are obviously free to criticize us as they please with the validity of their arguments being contingent on the strength of their reasoning. So that leads us back to same old rehashing of grievances between supporters and opponents of A+.

    If Atheism is merely the lack of a belief in god how does it support a dogma? Atheists did not invent the term nor are they the dominant force in society that reinforces the distinction of not believing in a god. Atheists did not necessarily decide to separate themselves from the ranks of the god-fearing; they came to a conclusion that by default separated them. It is atheists’ personal belief systems that reflect whether they are being dogmatic. Why should there be less diversity within atheism than between atheists and theists?

    Wait, when did I become a Bill Maher fan? I’ll concede your point on Dawkins.

    If there is a common philosophy of A+ then why not make statements of A+ principles and demands of allegiance to them contingent on description of that philosophy? Why don’t A+ supporters mention them when debating opponents? All you hear is support based on such things as evidence and reasoning that nearly everyone generally and vaguely claims to support anyway. If there is no common philosophy then the context of requiring loyalty to certain positions creates an environment in which there is incentive to agree regardless of the depth or veracity of conviction to the values. Such a strategy can and has been used for all sorts of ideologies regardless of legitimacy. If they and A+ were not driven evolutionarily by similar forces I can’t tell.

    Also, this attitude makes it easy to beg the question about the legitimacy of opposition to A+. Why you’re not a dishonest, unreasonable, uncompassionate, and immoral misogynist, racist, homophobe, and reactionary are you?

    Besides if A+ were just a club in which like-minded people can associate with each other then why isn’t it presented as such?

  46. screechymonkey says

    demands of allegiance… requiring loyalty to certain positions

    [citations needed]

    Besides if A+ were just a club in which like-minded people can associate with each other then why isn’t it presented as such?

    Who’s presenting it in any other way, other than you?

  47. John Morales says

    Jack Stone @55:

    If Atheism is merely the lack of a belief in god how does it support a dogma?

    I’m not sure what you imagine dogma denotes; you’re referring to one subset of movement atheists complaining about another subset.

    One of those subsets thinks atheists who want to be good people should be humanistic, too (that’s the + bit).

    Atheists did not necessarily decide to separate themselves from the ranks of the god-fearing; they came to a conclusion that by default separated them.

    Atheist+s did not necessarily decide to separate themselves from the ranks of the dictionary atheists; they came to a conclusion that by default separated them.

    It is atheists’ personal belief systems that reflect whether they are being dogmatic. Why should there be less diversity within atheism than between atheists and theists?

    Dunno — you’re the one who imagines A+’s existence is problematic.

    If there is a common philosophy of A+ then why not make statements of A+ principles and demands of allegiance to them contingent on description of that philosophy? Why don’t A+ supporters mention them when debating opponents? All you hear is support based on such things as evidence and reasoning that nearly everyone generally and vaguely claims to support anyway.

    So: you assert there is a dogma to A+, but dogmata is not to be seen when you actually discuss the issue with A+ers.

    (You are bemused, instead of seeing a clue)

  48. Reality_based_community says

    Tom – ” they’re saying that issues of equitable treatment, of harassment and bullying, of equal representation on panels, of objectification, of child care at conferences, of reproductive rights, of women’s issues and queer issues and race issues and disability issues and mental health issues, are not as important as the common goal of combating religious privilege and reinforcing the wall of separation of church and state.””

    Me- “No, I’m not saying any of those things”

    SallyStrange “Yes you fucking well are. Denying it doesn’t make it less true. Maybe you should think through all the implications of what you’re saying more, because that is the clear implication of everything you’ve said so far: that “issues of equitable treatment, of harassment and bullying, of equal representation on panels, of objectification, of child care at conferences, of reproductive rights, of women’s issues and queer issues and race issues and disability issues and mental health issues, are not as important as the common goal of combating religious privilege and reinforcing the wall of separation of church and state.” That really, really is exactly what you’re saying. If that’s not what you MEAN to say then you are fucking up with your communication very badly and you need to fix that ASAP.”

    Well, that escalated rather quickly. I agree that denying something doesn’t make it less true. I would also contend that not having said X, or anything that remotely implies X by any reasonable inference, actually means I didn’t say X. And that fact certainly doesn’t mean that X is “really really…*exactly* what [I] am saying [emphasis added].” What I did say is that magnifying differences and employing over-the-top rhetoric and imputing motives to others with absolutely no evidential basis is really not the best approach to dialog and is not overly helpful to your cause. I think I fairly accurately articulated what I meant to say. You just choose to misconstrue it for reasons known only to you. I’ll agree that communication broke down somewhere. But perhaps it’s is just me…

  49. says

    @Jack Stone:

    Christians are obviously free to criticize us as they please with the validity of their arguments being contingent on the strength of their reasoning.

    That doesn’t, in the slightest, answer the question I asked. Let me rephrase: here’s a fairly representative sample of ‘criticism’ of Atheism+-related people. A few questions, implied by your prior comment:
    1. Is this kind of ‘criticism’ acceptable/justified/licensed because people associated with Atheism+ allegedly framed A+ as “progress…even [atheism's] future,” implied that “they were reacting to the consequences of being involved in [atheism], while others were ignoring them,” that other atheists were “not truly” atheists, and that those who oppose A+ supported “the degradation of [atheism]“?

    2. Would it be similarly fair/acceptable/justifiable for Christians to make similar ‘criticisms’ of atheists in general for framing atheism as progress, even the future of society, that atheism is a reaction to the consequences of a godless universe–consequences that are ignored by believers in favor of made-up issues, that Christians could not truly be reasonable/rational, and that those who oppose atheism supported the degradation of society and government? Or would such ‘criticism’ be something that atheists would rightly find inappropriate and disgusting?

    3. In what way does the above ‘criticism’ not constitute a dogmatic “social pressure to agree with” certain tenets of non-A+ atheists, specifically a rejection of so-called “radical feminist ideology”? What “common philosophy” is being illustrated there?

    If Atheism is merely the lack of a belief in god how does it support a dogma?

    It doesn’t. It also doesn’t support “beliefs as derived from a common philosophy,” which is why your original claim regarding dogmatism was so silly, and this question based on it holds about as much content and validity as “if God doesn’t exist then who created the universe?” Atheism is not a belief, not a philosophy, not a dogma. It is the lack of belief in gods. It is a conclusion, an answer to one question that may be arrived at through many different avenues. As it is not a belief, it cannot seriously be the basis of anything.

    What’s nice about a movement coalescing online is that there’s often a permanent written record of how it came to be. Atheism+ didn’t come out of some dogmatic adherence to any principles. It came about because there are atheists who, in addition to disbelieving in gods, shared other values. Much of the modern atheism movement grew up the same way: atheists gathered together not just because they disbelieve in gods, but also because they value reason and science and evidence and separation of church and state and dismantling religious privilege–none of which are actual consequences of atheism itself.

    Just as some, but not all, atheists banded together online around their shared interest in science, and skepticism, other atheists discovered that they shared other values, like correcting imbalances in society with regard to gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ability, and so forth. In some cases they became atheists because they recognized how religions promote and perpetuate these social injustices, in some cases they became interested in social justice because rejecting religion necessarily meant questioning other things they had taken for granted, or recognizing that there’s no force in the universe that’s going to set things right for us, so we have to do the dirty work ourselves.

    Said social-justice-minded atheists also noticed that their views were not shared by all of the atheist community, and that many were hostile to the notion of mixing atheism with other issues (ignoring, of course, that the sin had already been committed by mixing atheism with science and skepticism and politics, but they agreed with those issues). Eventually, the hate and abuse and vitriol and lack of any kind of movement on the issues caused many to get fed up, and, well, you can see in that thread how it all came to a head. And developed into Atheism+, a label applied to a group of atheists who already shared common philosophies about seeking and achieving social justice and equality.

    Why should there be less diversity within atheism than between atheists and theists?

    That’s a very good question. It’s one you should ask of the people who fight tooth-and-nail to keep feminism and other social justice issues out of atheist circles.

    Wait, when did I become a Bill Maher fan?

    I don’t know your feelings about Maher, I was just illustrating the point that atheism doesn’t actually have a “shared common philosophy,” and only seems to develop one when it’s time to exclude people that the rabble dislike.

    If there is a common philosophy of A+ then why not make statements of A+ principles and demands of allegiance to them contingent on description of that philosophy?

    There are no demands of allegiance to Atheism+. There is a statement of principles:

    We are…
    Atheists plus we care about social justice,
    Atheists plus we support women’s rights,
    Atheists plus we protest racism,
    Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
    Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.

    There’s even a FAQ page that goes into greater detail and addresses nearly everything you’ve brought up.

    The rest of your paragraph, being built entirely on ignorance that would be corrected by a ten-minute trip to the FAQ page, is kind of incoherent as a result.

    Also, this attitude makes it easy to beg the question about the legitimacy of opposition to A+. Why you’re not a dishonest, unreasonable, uncompassionate, and immoral misogynist, racist, homophobe, and reactionary are you?

    Not everyone who has voiced opposition to A+ has done so from a position of bigotry. I’ve really come to agree with Natalie Reed’s thoughts on the matter, and I suspect I’m not alone. But a lot of the critics? The loudest, most vocal ones? The ones making crude photoshops and tweeting abusive things at people long after they’ve been blocked? Yes, they’re approaching from positions of bigotry.

    To hit another analogy, there are people who, for whatever reason, just don’t care for rap music. They’ve tried listening to various bands and eras and styles and subgenres, but it just doesn’t do anything for them.

    Then there are the people who loudly and proudly proclaim “I listen to all kinds of music…except rap. More like crap if you ask me! It’s not even real music!” and so on, and so forth.

    Someone who puts that much time and effort into proclaiming their hate for something? Someone who makes it a part of their identity? They’re not approaching that thing from a position of genuine disinterest. Nine times out of ten, there’s something else going on.

    There are legitimate gripes to be had with Atheism+. The people proclaiming constantly how much they hate Atheism+? They are not, for the most part, voicing legitimate gripes. They are, like you, peddling ludicrous counterfactual myths as passed through a game of Internet telephone, which could be corrected easily by going to the primary sources or the FAQ page.

    Besides if A+ were just a club in which like-minded people can associate with each other then why isn’t it presented as such?

    Atheism+ isn’t presented as a club because it isn’t a “club” any more than atheism is. It’s a community of like-minded individuals. There are no dues, there is no roster, there’s nothing to join. There is a forum, but the forum isn’t the sum total of Atheism+. It’s just a convenient location for people who share both atheism and social justice values to talk about things.

    Incidentally, this is all covered in the FAQ. Maybe you should read the FAQ. It might answer your Q, which it turns out are A F.

  50. Jack Stone says

    @56
    “”demands of allegiance… requiring loyalty to certain positions”
    [citations needed]”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au2i3xxgv7U
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/2207

    “In the meantime, are you an atheist? Do you identify as an atheist? Then I can’t insist, but I do ask that you to defend these goals and values (not in comments here, but publicly, via Facebook or other social media): are you with us, or with them; are you with the Atheism+ movement, or do you at least cheer and approve it’s values and aims (since you don’t have to label yourself), or are you going to stick with Atheism Less and its sexism and cruelty and irrationality?
    Then at least we’ll know who to work with. And who to avoid.”

    “”Besides if A+ were just a club in which like-minded people can associate with each other then why isn’t it presented as such?”
    Who’s presenting it in any other way, other than you?”

    Everything that motivated #47. That includes Carrier’s video above. All the other posts that position A+ such as to define atheism and its issues. All the comments that suggest all opposition to A+ is motivated by everything A+ stands against. The claims that anti-A+ers are lacking in the essentials related to being a complete and balanced atheist.

    @57
    “”If Atheism is merely the lack of a belief in god how does it support a dogma?”
    I’m not sure what you imagine dogma denotes; you’re referring to one subset of movement atheists complaining about another subset.
    One of those subsets thinks atheists who want to be good people should be humanistic, too (that’s the + bit).”
    I was responding to Tom Foss’s comment:
    “As for dogma, it seems like your point is just as easily directed at the atheist community itself.”
    “”Atheists did not necessarily decide to separate themselves from the ranks of the god-fearing; they came to a conclusion that by default separated them.”
    Atheist+s did not necessarily decide to separate themselves from the ranks of the dictionary atheists; they came to a conclusion that by default separated them.”
    But they do separate by creating the name A+, doing the things I mentioned at the top of this post, and insisting on values that, I argue, create the opportunity for dogma.
    “”If there is a common philosophy of A+ then why not make statements of A+ principles and demands of allegiance to them contingent on description of that philosophy? Why don’t A+ supporters mention them when debating opponents? All you hear is support based on such things as evidence and reasoning that nearly everyone generally and vaguely claims to support anyway.”
    So: you assert there is a dogma to A+, but dogmata is not to be seen when you actually discuss the issue with A+ers.”
    The requirements for dogma are rules/values/principles delivered in such a way as to discourage discussion that could support the integrity of the process. The agenda is often asserted or assumed as so obvious you would have to be blind not to agree. You do not see encouragement of reflection on what justifies A+.

  51. John Morales says

    Reality_based_community @58:

    I would also contend that not having said X, or anything that remotely implies X by any reasonable inference, actually means I didn’t say X.

    It’s arguable whether there is no such implication; I put to you the proposition “issues of equitable treatment, of harassment and bullying, of equal representation on panels, of objectification, of child care at conferences, of reproductive rights, of women’s issues and queer issues and race issues and disability issues and mental health issues, are not as important as the common goal of combating religious privilege and reinforcing the wall of separation of church and state.”

    Do you agree with this proposition?

  52. says

    What I did say is that magnifying differences and employing over-the-top rhetoric and imputing motives to others with absolutely no evidential basis is really not the best approach to dialog and is not overly helpful to your cause.

    Thank you for the tone trolling. Your concern is noted.

    Has it occurred to you that you do not understand “our cause”? Has it occurred to you that some of us may not be interested in dialogue with some people? Has it occurred to you that we determine people’s motives by looking at their actions, not their words, and that their actions do in fact constitute evidence?

    SallyStrange applied harsh language, but accurate language. She was addressing what you are failing to see: we are not “magnifying differences.” Differences exist. Significant differences. Differences ranging from different beliefs and philosophies to different opinions on the basic humanity and rights of other people in the larger group. I outlined several in my last response to you.

    When you tell people, especially marginalized people, to ignore or downplay those differences in order to achieve some other goal, you are saying that the goal is more important than those differences.

    When the differences are things like believing that trans* people are delusional because biology, or women are naturally less good than men at reason and science, or that there’s no need to try to have racially diverse panels of speakers because race is just a social construct so it isn’t “real,” then you are telling people that these legitimate issues that affect them far more directly and frequently than the shared goal are less important than that goal.

    This may not be your intended message, but it is the message that you communicate. When you say (for example) “we need to stop the infighting over harassment policies because we should be working together to fight mandatory Pledge of Allegiance recital in schools,” you are saying that the issue of harassment is less important and less worthy of consideration than mandatory Pledge recital. There is legitimately no other way to take that.

    And to you, that may be the correct order of priorities. We all prioritize things differently, and those priorities are naturally going to be even more different in a diverse group. But when marginalized groups within the larger big-tent are consistently told that the issues which directly affect them are less important than issues that abstractly affect everyone, they begin to take the message that their issues are not viewed as worthwhile by the larger group. You want to talk about ineffective ways to achieve goals? Telling minorities that their contributions and opinions are less important than the contributions and opinions of the majority is not an effective way to achieve goals, if part of your goal is to reach a large, diverse group, and combat a multifaceted problem.

  53. John Morales says

    Jack Stone @59,

    I was responding to Tom Foss’s comment:
    “As for dogma, it seems like your point is just as easily directed at the atheist community itself.”

    So? What makes the atheist community a community?

    (Surely not shared values, since there are no atheist values to share!)

    But they do separate by creating the name A+, doing the things I mentioned at the top of this post, and insisting on values that, I argue, create the opportunity for dogma.

    You assert it, actually; more to the point: they’re still atheists, no? Movement atheists, even.

    (So: how are they separated exactly from the atheist movement?)

    The requirements for dogma are rules/values/principles delivered in such a way as to discourage discussion that could support the integrity of the process. The agenda is often asserted or assumed as so obvious you would have to be blind not to agree. You do not see encouragement of reflection on what justifies A+.

    You know what smacks of dogma? Asserted without basis, assumed as so obvious you would have to be blind not to agree?

    The quaint notion that because atheist+ers don’t stop at atheism they don’t belong within atheism.

    (I mean, it’s not like they could be perverting atheism’s non-existent values or something, right?)

  54. says

    @Jack Stone: I have a larger reply to you in the mod queue, but let’s discuss this right now: Richard Carrier does not speak for Atheism+. His over-the-top rhetoric was generally denounced almost immediately. It’s even referenced on the Atheism Plus FAQ page:

    What if I don’t want to participate?

    Those who choose not to use the Atheism Plus designation are not automatically considered supporters of bigotry. An “us and them” understanding is implicit whenever a group of any kind forms, but the “them” in this case is not monolithic. It is composed of individuals and groups who range from the supportive but uninvolved, to the neutral, to those opposed on principle, to the unabashedly bigoted, hateful, and discriminatory. The “us” in this case are the individuals and groups who are interested in seeing what an association of atheists working against bigotry, hatred, and discrimination can accomplish when given their own spaces in which to develop ideas. This position should be understood as distinct from the “with us or against us” position endorsed by some early proponents of Atheism Plus–a position which has been rejected by general consensus. (Anyone who decides to do so may attempt to speak for Atheism Plus, but whether their ideas find any support with the rest of the group is a different matter.)

    Emphasis mine.

    You allude to other evidence, but do you actually have any to provide?

    The requirements for dogma are rules/values/principles delivered in such a way as to discourage discussion that could support the integrity of the process. The agenda is often asserted or assumed as so obvious you would have to be blind not to agree. You do not see encouragement of reflection on what justifies A+.

    You may not see it, but that’s because you’re not actually looking. There’s a whole discussion board dedicated to hashing out the details and tricky bits and, you know, discussing issues. And, again, how is this not true of atheism in general? The atheist position is also asserted or assumed as so obvious you would have to be blind (or deluded, or indoctrinated) not to agree. How many atheist sites and forums spend any time reflecting on what justifies their atheism, outside of when an apologist stops by?

  55. Reality_based_community says

    JM – “It’s arguable whether there is no such implication; I put to you the proposition “issues of equitable treatment, of harassment and bullying, of equal representation on panels, of objectification, of child care at conferences, of reproductive rights, of women’s issues and queer issues and race issues and disability issues and mental health issues, are not as important as the common goal of combating religious privilege and reinforcing the wall of separation of church and state.”

    Do you agree with this proposition?”

    No, it’s not “arguable,” if by that term you mean that I actually said something that could reasonably lead anyone to make such an interpretation. And yes, I’d tend to strongly agree with most of the items you list…though perhaps convenient child care at conferences doesn’t rise to the level of the problem of racism. The absence of convenient child care is a problem I commonly experience, but I wouldn’t equate it with be burned, lynched, tortured, jailed just for the color of ones skin.

    ‘”

  56. Reality_based_community says

    Tom – “Thank you for the tone trolling. Your concern is noted.”

    I really thought I was addressing the substance of the remarks. But thanks for noting somebody’s concern. It’s a start.

    “Has it occurred to you that you do not understand “our cause”? Has it occurred to you that some of us may not be interested in dialogue with some people? Has it occurred to you that we determine people’s motives by looking at their actions, not their words, and that their actions do in fact constitute evidence?”

    Why yes, that has occurred to me. I’m just a little confused about whose actions we are talking about.

    “SallyStrange applied harsh language, but accurate language.” I’m not really appalled by the use of the term “fuck.” I employ it myself, though perhaps a little more judiciously.

    “She was addressing what you are failing to see: we are not “magnifying differences.” Differences exist. Significant differences. Differences ranging from different beliefs and philosophies to different opinions on the basic humanity and rights of other people in the larger group. I outlined several in my last response to you.”

    I don’t have any issue with substantive differences, and fully support the right to air them. But, I thought this was a discussion of JG’s video. I failed to see anything particularly racist or sexist or improperly sensitive to other disenfranchised group in it, though I admitted that her original title (about which I was not aware) wasn’t appropriate.

    “When you tell people, especially marginalized people, to ignore or downplay those differences in order to achieve some other goal, you are saying that the goal is more important than those differences.”

    I said nothing of the kind. Why do you keep insisting on putting words in my mouth (text) that were never said? I didn’t suggest you downplay real substantive issues. I suggested that you not create differences where none seem to exist. If they do, then addressing such differences specifically might be helpful. It just appears that some folks are generating more heat than light. I still haven’t seen a comment on this thread that address anything that JG actually said, other than the title of the video.

    “When the differences are things like believing that trans* people are delusional because biology, or women are naturally less good than men at reason and science, or that there’s no need to try to have racially diverse panels of speakers because race is just a social construct so it isn’t “real,” then you are telling people that these legitimate issues that affect them far more directly and frequently than the shared goal are less important than that goal.”

    I didn’t say or even remotely imply such a thing. Nor did JG (the topic of this thread). As an aside, I do think the “institution” of race is most definitely a social construct, but it certainly doesn’t follow that it isn’t “real.” In fact, I have never met or read or heard about anybody who would believe that nonsense, even the most reality-challenged post-modernist.

    “This may not be your intended message, but it is the message that you communicate.”

    No, it’s the message you have chosen to receive, not the message that was sent.

    “When you say (for example) “we need to stop the infighting over harassment policies because we should be working together to fight mandatory Pledge of Allegiance recital in schools,”

    Once again, I never said that. I don’t believe it, and have no understanding of how you could possibly infer that from anything I said.

    “you are saying that the issue of harassment is less important and less worthy of consideration than mandatory Pledge recital. There is legitimately no other way to take that.”

    Once again, I never said or implied that, so this conclusion simply doesn’t follow.

    “And to you, that may be the correct order of priorities. We all prioritize things differently, and those priorities are naturally going to be even more different in a diverse group.”

    I don’t have a problem with this statement. Agreed.

    “But when marginalized groups within the larger big-tent are consistently told that the issues which directly affect them are less important than issues that abstractly affect everyone, they begin to take the message that their issues are not viewed as worthwhile by the larger group.”

    Again, I agree here too.

    “You want to talk about ineffective ways to achieve goals? Telling minorities that their contributions and opinions are less important than the contributions and opinions of the majority is not an effective way to achieve goals, if part of your goal is to reach a large, diverse group, and combat a multifaceted problem.”

    Don’t disagree here either.

  57. John Morales says

    Reality_based_community @63, your response is informative.

    And yes, I’d tend to strongly agree with most of the items you list…though perhaps convenient child care at conferences doesn’t rise to the level of the problem of racism.

    But it’s not my list; it’s a quotation from your own quotation of SallyStrange.

    Here’s the full quotation:

    SallyStrange “Yes you fucking well are. Denying it doesn’t make it less true. Maybe you should think through all the implications of what you’re saying more, because that is the clear implication of everything you’ve said so far: that “issues of equitable treatment, of harassment and bullying, of equal representation on panels, of objectification, of child care at conferences, of reproductive rights, of women’s issues and queer issues and race issues and disability issues and mental health issues, are not as important as the common goal of combating religious privilege and reinforcing the wall of separation of church and state.” That really, really is exactly what you’re saying. If that’s not what you MEAN to say then you are fucking up with your communication very badly and you need to fix that ASAP.”

    I put it to you her inferential conclusion is substantially vindicated and your earlier prevarication made moot.

    In passing, I get the feeling you prefer to engage with me much more so than with SallyStrange, to whom you were merely dismissive.

  58. says

    I don’t have any issue with substantive differences, and fully support the right to air them. But, I thought this was a discussion of JG’s video. I failed to see anything particularly racist or sexist or improperly sensitive to other disenfranchised group in it, though I admitted that her original title (about which I was not aware) wasn’t appropriate.

    Aside from the various strawmen and hypocrisy that have been dissected in other posts here at this blog, what you continue to fail to understand is that Glenn’s latest video is part of a series she’s been doing attacking feminists, going back at least as far as her counterfactual, denialist, ableist Elliot Rodger video. More than that, it’s part of a larger campaign against feminists, by Glenn and others. Glenn’s videos do not exist in a vacuum, and you’re seeing people argue against it it, accurately, as part of a larger context–a context that Glenn is aware of (you can’t be pals with The Amazing Atheist and not be aware of it) and working from.

    That you are not aware of this context has been explained to and admitted by you. Most people would realize that this makes them underqualified to participate in the discussion.

    Why do you keep insisting on putting words in my mouth (text) that were never said? I didn’t suggest you downplay real substantive issues. I suggested that you not create differences where none seem to exist.

    When you say “create differences where none seem to exist,” particularly when you are ignorant of the larger context, you are accusing people of manufacturing divisions. You are, quite literally, saying that those differences are not real.

    Rather than stop and think “maybe there are legitimate differences that I just don’t see or understand due to my lack of experience with these topics,” you persist in accusing people of making up or exaggerating trivial differences. So you’re right, I amend my statement: you aren’t saying that people should downplay or ignore legitimate differences, you’re saying that because those differences aren’t immediately obvious to you, an uninformed outsider, they therefore do not exist, and the people discussing them are just making stuff up.

    Are you, perhaps, starting to get an inkling as to why that might be viewed as insulting and dismissive?

    In fact, I have never met or read or heard about anybody who would believe that nonsense, even the most reality-challenged post-modernist.

    Another sign of how out of your depth you are on this topic. There are people, people in this atheist/skeptic community who very much believe and promote that nonsense. There are also people in the opposite, equally racist camp.

  59. Reality_based_community says

    Honestly, I’d have to say the problem here is the unwillingness to *listen* Most of my posts have been to responses not directed at anything I actually wrote, but to off-the-shelf assumptions about what I must have somehow meant, convenient categories, ideas that are improperly imputed to me based on nothing I actually wrote, and common stereotypes that now substitute for an appreciation of nuance, subtlety, and complexity. . There just doesn’t seem to be any willingness to try to understand as opposed to using others as grist for the mill. I think that was the very point that JG was trying to make. Perhaps you thought she did it in-artfully, Or was too insulting. But I have to say, she has a point.

  60. says

    The irony, R_b_c, is that you come in here admittedly ignorant about the vast majority of the situation, and accuse us of failure to understand.

    There is more going on than just one video by Jaclyn Glenn. She knows it, we know it, and this discussion is largely based on that knowledge.

    That you don’t understand, especially when aspects of it have been explained to you and linked to you, is not really our problem. That you feel qualified to lecture to us about tone and assumptions, when you are coming in with only the vaguest hint of a clue, is, in fact, your problem.

  61. Jack Stone says

    @62
    “So? What makes the atheist community a community?
    (Surely not shared values, since there are no atheist values to share!)”

    You know I’m going to technically say just non-belief in god. There are issues related to rejection of religion though and an atheist identity can be useful in taking a stance to express related ideas. Otherwise, atheism might be the equivalent of an internet forum where people have some common interest. They may not agree on everything and they may not be unified, but the opportunity for dialog may be the only (or best) outlet for many people on their hobby/interest.

    “”But they do separate by creating the name A+, doing the things I mentioned at the top of this post, and insisting on values that, I argue, create the opportunity for dogma.”
    You assert it, actually; more to the point: they’re still atheists, no? Movement atheists, even.
    (So: how are they separated exactly from the atheist movement?)”

    I didn’t mean to imply that specifically. They are creating separation between themselves and those they reject; those they cast out as being in league with “atheism less”. They are no less atheists, for the little that means.

    I assert what? Is there a predictable relationship between emphasis on social pressure to conform and de-emphasis on the justification for conformity? I’ve seen it suggested that there are values to be derived from the nature of atheism, but I’ve yet to hear an explanation of how this is. I see a better case to be made that values can be based on our humanity (to use a cliché).

  62. Reality_based_community says

    John –

    Reality_based_community @63, your response is informative.

    And yes, I’d tend to strongly agree with most of the items you list…though perhaps convenient child care at conferences doesn’t rise to the level of the problem of racism.

    But it’s not my list; it’s a quotation from your own quotation of SallyStrange.

    Here’s the full quotation:

    SallyStrange “Yes you fucking well are. Denying it doesn’t make it less true. Maybe you should think through all the implications of what you’re saying more, because that is the clear implication of everything you’ve said so far: that “issues of equitable treatment, of harassment and bullying, of equal representation on panels, of objectification, of child care at conferences, of reproductive rights, of women’s issues and queer issues and race issues and disability issues and mental health issues, are not as important as the common goal of combating religious privilege and reinforcing the wall of separation of church and state.” That really, really is exactly what you’re saying. If that’s not what you MEAN to say then you are fucking up with your communication very badly and you need to fix that ASAP.”

    I put it to you her inferential conclusion is substantially vindicated and your earlier prevarication made moot.

    In passing, I get the feeling you prefer to engage with me much more so than with SallyStrange, to whom you were merely dismissive.

    John, I think your intuition is somewhat lacking. You haven’t said anything substantive in this post. You’re now just being a dick, and really rather evasive. And I have no idea what you are attempting to communicate. Perhaps we need a citation mechanism on this board, so that I can clarify it wasn’t *your* list about which you asked me to comment and to which I honestly responded, You posted a list of problems that I assumed you too thought were problems. Said I agree. So you attack me personally. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

  63. John Morales says

    Reality_based_community @67:

    Most of my posts have been to responses not directed at anything I actually wrote, but to off-the-shelf assumptions about what I must have somehow meant, convenient categories, ideas that are improperly imputed to me based on nothing I actually wrote, and common stereotypes that now substitute for an appreciation of nuance, subtlety, and complexity.

    It probably seems like that to you because some of us have encountered your like before; opinionated, but largely uninformed. A little knowledge. A lot of rote.

    (cf. #65, where SallyStrange inferred a list of things with which you would strongly agree (and with which you did).

    There just doesn’t seem to be any willingness to try to understand as opposed to using others as grist for the mill.

    :)

    But I have to say, she has a point.

    “O pointy birds, o pointy pointy,
    Anoint my head, anointy-nointy.”

  64. Reality_based_community says

    Tom – ”

    The irony, R_b_c, is that you come in here admittedly ignorant about the vast majority of the situation, and accuse us of failure to understand.

    There is more going on than just one video by Jaclyn Glenn. She knows it, we know it, and this discussion is largely based on that knowledge.

    That you don’t understand, especially when aspects of it have been explained to you and linked to you, is not really our problem. That you feel qualified to lecture to us about tone and assumptions, when you are coming in with only the vaguest hint of a clue, is, in fact, your problem.”

    I don’t think your dictionary defines irony in the same way mine does. Perhaps you have the Alanis Morissette dictionary? I wouldn’t say I don’t know the *vast* majority of the history, but I certainly don’t follow every internet spat and personal attacks, any more than I did when I was in junior high. Absolutely nothing has been explained or linked here re JG that implies that she has been involved with all of this emotional baggage that you folks seem to wear like a prized outfit. I seriously doubt that she is. I doubt that there is a “deep context” that renders her words to mean anything other than the plain meaning of the words. I don’t consider my posts a lecture…just trying (and possibly failing) to communicate and understand.

  65. Reality_based_community says

    @John – “Reality_based_community @67:

    Moi – Most of my posts have been to responses not directed at anything I actually wrote, but to off-the-shelf assumptions about what I must have somehow meant, convenient categories, ideas that are improperly imputed to me based on nothing I actually wrote, and common stereotypes that now substitute for an appreciation of nuance, subtlety, and complexity.

    John – It probably seems like that to you because some of us have encountered your *like* before [emphasis added];

    You sort of just confirmed my point. My “like.” My kind. Knowing absolutely nothing about me, failing to base any of your assumptions on anything I wrote, but you have assigned me to a “like,” a kind…a preconceived category. Precisely *the* problem.

  66. says

    Absolutely nothing has been explained or linked here re JG that implies that she has been involved with all of this emotional baggage that you folks seem to wear like a prized outfit.

    Right, she just criticized Atheism+ and feminists all on her own, and certainly isn’t parroting other common memes about Atheism+ and feminists that just happen to also be spread by people she considers friends! like the Amazing Atheist. That’s all a big coincidence.

    And yes, it’s true, her words mean what her words mean regardless of context. As do mine. Which is why when I said that people are responding to and talking about more than just one of Jaclyn Glenn’s videos, I meant that people are responding to and talking about moe than just one of Jackyn Glenn’s videos. We’re also talking about more than just a few of JG’s Facebook posts, which is what the OP is about.

    But I appreciate that you’ve been able to dismiss all this as Internet spats out of junior high, and we’ve returned right back to square fucking one. You came in here pompous, arrogant, and ignorant. You are still pompous, arrogant, and ignorant.

  67. Tessa says

    Reality_Based_Community:

    “When you tell people, especially marginalized people, to ignore or downplay those differences in order to achieve some other goal, you are saying that the goal is more important than those differences.”

    I said nothing of the kind. Why do you keep insisting on putting words in my mouth (text) that were never said? I didn’t suggest you downplay real substantive issues. I suggested that you not create differences where none seem to exist. If they do, then addressing such differences specifically might be helpful. It just appears that some folks are generating more heat than light. I still haven’t seen a comment on this thread that address anything that JG actually said, other than the title of the video.

    Well… there’s this:

    Rather, it was against the mode of argumentation that treats any deviation from a narrow orthodoxy as high treason. Even when you agree on the vast majority of substantive issues. I’ve seen it countless times.

    Even if you agree with “the vast majority of substantive issues,” the ones you don’t agree on may be deal breakers. If you aren’t implying that minority of differences isn’t as important than the majority (regardless of what those specific differences are), then what? How is that not an implication that the differences aren’t important?

    OK, Reality_Based_community, you are one of those people who like to speak with great vagueness so that when people try to respond, you can say, “hey I didn’t say that.” And you can do that over and over because in all honesty, you haven’t said anything of substance. Just overly broad statements with many implications but nothing specific. Whether you do this purposely, or you think you’re arguing well, I’m not sure. So I am going to try to pin down what you’re talking about.

    I notice the “Real substantive issues” statement. So earlier when you said “My only point is why create fissures where none seem to exist?” You meant “real substantive issues.”

    Now. Please provide examples of non substantive issues that are creating and magnifying fissures where they don’t exist. And maybe provide some exmples of what you consider “real substantive issues.”

    PS: And would you mind using blockquotes when you quote? I’m not sure how to do the code to make the symbols visible, but it’s [blockquote] Stuff you are quoting [/blockquote] With the less than symbol for [ and a greater than symbol for ]

    I only ask cause sometimes it’s tough to separate what your’e quoting and what you’re saying, as you also put your quotes and your response on the same line.

  68. John Morales says

    Jack Stone @69:

    You know I’m going to technically say just non-belief in god [makes a community].

    OK.

    There are issues related to rejection of religion though and an atheist identity can be useful in taking a stance to express related ideas.

    So, just non-belief in god and an atheist identity.

    OK.

    Otherwise, atheism might be the equivalent of an internet forum where people have some common interest.

    So, just non-belief in god and either an atheist identity or the equivalent of participation in an internet forum.

    OK.

    They may not agree on everything and they may not be unified, but the opportunity for dialog may be the only (or best) outlet for many people on their hobby/interest.

    Fair enough.

    They are creating separation between themselves and those they reject; those they cast out as being in league with “atheism less”. They are no less atheists, for the little that means.

    Oh yes, and unapologetically at that. They see themselves as better than those who lack their benevolent humanistic inclinations.

    So? By your own criteria, they remain part of the atheist community.

    (And is it not abundantly clear to you that they are rejected no less than they reject?)

    I assert what?

    “[A+] insisting on values that, I argue, create the opportunity for dogma” (my emphasis).

    You don’t argue it, you assert it. Then you find it odd that they don’s refer to any dogma in discussions.

  69. Reality_based_community says

    @tessa – “Even if you agree with “the vast majority of substantive issues,” the ones you don’t agree on may be deal breakers.”

    That’s true. I just haven’t seen anything substantive about JG’s video. What, exactly, is the substantive issue with which you disagree? What did she say, *exactly*?

  70. Tessa says

    @tessa – “Even if you agree with “the vast majority of substantive issues,” the ones you don’t agree on may be deal breakers.”

    That’s true. I just haven’t seen anything substantive about JG’s video. What, exactly, is the substantive issue with which you disagree? What did she say, *exactly*?

    *snort* She didn’t say anything substantive… That’s the point. You, on the other hand claim to know her purpose. In your very first comment. IF, as you said:

    JG has a point, one that confirms my own experiences on many occasions, not least your own site PZ. Just speaking frankly. JG was making the a point not against feminism per se, nor against anything re substantive ideas. Rather, it was against the mode of argumentation that treats any deviation from a narrow orthodoxy as high treason. Even when you agree on the vast majority of substantive issues. I’ve seen it countless times.

    You must know what she’s talking about. What deviations from the narrow orthodoxy are we treating as high treason? And you further state that point with “creating fissures where none exist.” So please. Give us examples of these non-substantive issues that we are creating fissures over. And what do you feel would be a substantive issue? You claim to know what JG was was talking about. Again, be specific (not really “again” since youdidn’t answer my question previously… but you understand.)

  71. John Morales says

    Reality_based_community @77, you don’t see that it sought to mock A+ as something “substantive about JG’s video”? That is, the issue of whether A+ is mock-worthy for the reasons purportedly provided in that video.

    (Were someone to make a video mocking you by caricaturing you and your position, would you not think that was substantively worthy of objection?)

  72. screechymonkey says

    R_B_C @ 72

    I wouldn’t say I don’t know the *vast* majority of the history, but I certainly don’t follow every internet spat and personal attacks, any more than I did when I was in junior high.

    Well, there you go ahead, R.B.C.

    Jaclyn Glenn posts a video attacking “Atheism + Pussies,” and you’re all ears. It’s not an “internet spat” or “junior high personal attacks” when she does it.

    In fact, you find this video so interesting and worthy of your time that when someone posts a criticism of that video, and you show up and dive in to the comments section. Because this is important stuff to you, and worth defending your position.

    People in that comments section suggest that you don’t know the whole context of the discussion? Oh, pshaw, that stuff is just an “internet spat” and “junior high” stuff. You can’t be bothered with such trivialities, you’re too busy typing comments on a blog in defense of a YouTube vlogger’s criticisms of an internet discussion forum. But hey, good to know you’re above such stuff.

    And you wonder why people here seem to consider you disingenuous and suspect your motives? Really?

  73. screechymonkey says

    Jack Stone @59:

    “In the meantime, are you an atheist? Do you identify as an atheist? Then I can’t insist, but I do ask that you to defend these goals and values (not in comments here, but publicly, via Facebook or other social media): are you with us, or with them; are you with the Atheism+ movement, or do you at least cheer and approve it’s values and aims (since you don’t have to label yourself), or are you going to stick with Atheism Less and its sexism and cruelty and irrationality?
    Then at least we’ll know who to work with. And who to avoid.”

    “”Besides if A+ were just a club in which like-minded people can associate with each other then why isn’t it presented as such?”
    Who’s presenting it in any other way, other than you?”

    Everything that motivated #47. That includes Carrier’s video above. All the other posts that position A+ such as to define atheism and its issues. All the comments that suggest all opposition to A+ is motivated by everything A+ stands against. The claims that anti-A+ers are lacking in the essentials related to being a complete and balanced atheist.

    Oh my goodness. One person who supports A+ actually dared to … I can barely type the words… ask you to support its goals.

    You poor, poor thing. You must be so traumatized.

    And yes, that request for support certainly meets my request for support for your position that people are “demanding allegiance” and “requiring loyalty.” Those are totally the same thing.

    Why, just the other day, Richard Carrier showed up at my door and turned me into a newt for not supporting A+.

    I got better.

  74. Jack Stone says

    @76 Yes, A+ is rejected as much as it rejects. Much of the rejection of it is wrong, but even when it is I contend the emotions have a basis.

    I argue “Is there a predictable relationship between emphasis on social pressure to conform and de-emphasis on the justification for conformity?”

    You didn’t respond to a similar argument previously. The dogma is evidenced by the values advocated. Good values can be dogmatic too if they are merely asserted.

    @81
    Sure, you can decide to oppose A+ according to that quote and lose all credibility. You’re always free to jump off a cliff, right? Maybe I happen to support social justice issues and maybe I won’t be condemned (I have no expectations). But what right does anyone have to my choices? Why should I be more acceptable because I agree with you? I’d argue that no one should be condemned. Darwinism in nature requires pain and death. We can target beliefs and memes in culture directly. Demonizing your opponent adds what exactly?

  75. John Morales says

    Jack Stone @82:

    I argue “Is there a predictable relationship between emphasis on social pressure to conform and de-emphasis on the justification for conformity?”

    Kinda like the ideal gas law? I doubt it, human dynamics is more complicated than molecules bouncing around.

    You didn’t respond to a similar argument previously. The dogma is evidenced by the values advocated. Good values can be dogmatic too if they are merely asserted.

    I suppose that, in some sense, firmly-held beliefs which are acted upon are effectively dogma to their adherents.

    Do you consider (say) secular humanist values to be merely asserted and thus dogmatic?

  76. Silentbob says

    Can I just point out (because I think it’s being missed) that the title “Atheism + Pussies” is a reference to the content of the video. In the parody video the “Atheism+” character is a “cats’ rights” advocate debating an animal rights advocate. The former uses “pussy” as an example of a “slur” that indicates cats are particularly marginalised with respect to other pets. (Glenn’s facebook subdirectory is “JaclynLovesCats”.) It’s possible some people were misinterpreting the title as an insult and that is why it was changed to “Atheism + Drama”. You may or may not consider this information relevant.

    That is all. Carry on.

  77. Tessa says

    Silentbob:

    Can I just point out (because I think it’s being missed) that the title “Atheism + Pussies” is a reference to the content of the video. In the parody video the “Atheism+” character is a “cats’ rights” advocate debating an animal rights advocate. The former uses “pussy” as an example of a “slur” that indicates cats are particularly marginalised with respect to other pets. (Glenn’s facebook subdirectory is “JaclynLovesCats”.) It’s possible some people were misinterpreting the title as an insult and that is why it was changed to “Atheism + Drama”. You may or may not consider this information relevant.

    That is all. Carry on.

    Do you, in complete and total honesty, believe that it is actually a misinterpretation on our part and that Jaclyn Glenn in absolutely no way used that word on purpose because of its double meaning?

    I’m honestly curious about your faith in her innocence in this matter.

  78. Maureen Brian says

    Reality_based_community,

    Let us scroll back up to your @ 39. I am not going to comment on what it actually says for I have noticed that you hedge your bets when you write, careful to be so vague and non-specific that you cannot later be held to account.

    I am commenting on two clear implications of what you say – that the Watson/Dawkins spat over Elevatorgate opened up a new rift and that the casus belli was too trivial to take up this amount of time and energy.

    Wrong on both counts!

    Not a new rift, this one’s so old it’s in the history books. The conference in 1847 of a mixed bunch of progressives, abolitionists and suffragists was held at Seneca Falls NY – then out in the wilds – because the participants were fed up with setting up meetings, even in cosmopolitan cities, only to have them hi-jacked by a self-selecting band of “leaders” (i.e. men) who would cheerfully take to the podium and tell them who they were, what they thought and what the priorities were.

    Is this beginning to sound familiar? It should.

    It is not just that it is demeaning and offensive to treat the rest of us as wait staff, decorative objects or walking slot machines – it deprives atheism and the whole project of moving towards a rational, secular society of almost 70% of its thinkers, writers, persuaders. For no good reason.

    As for your @ 77, our substantive demand in this instance is that when we discuss feminism or diversity at least 50%+1 of the speakers should know what they are talking about and that, whatever line they take, all speakers should be open to honest challenge and critique.

    It would be that way if we were discussing Arianism, Post-Modernism or Vorticism. The onus is on you and on the partisans of the opposite view to explain why we must always speak against a hail of flying faeces and be subject to death threats, rape threats and deliberate mis-representation when, as fully paid up members of the human race, we speak.

  79. says

    Jack Stone @82:

    But what right does anyone have to my choices?

    You must have a very high opinion of yourself if you think that people shouldn’t be free to disassociate from you if they don’t like the choices you’ve made. You aren’t entitled to associate with whomever you want; other people do, indeed, have a right to place conditions on their relationships with you.

    Why should I be more acceptable because I agree with you?

    Because we’re talking about values, and not merely taste. If the values you promote are diametrically opposed to mine, then I wouldn’t want to associate with you. This isn’t a difficult concept, unless you’re so full of yourself that you feel that people should accept you regardless of your actions and your goals.

  80. Reality_based_community says

    Maureen Brian – “Let us scroll back up to your @ 39. I am not going to comment on what it actually says…”

    I think that’s rather been my point…

  81. Maureen Brian says

    I promise you, Reality_based_community @ 90, that as soon as you say something clear and unambiguous then I will respond to it.

    What do I mean by that? A fairly short sentence whose meaning is easily discerned plus, maybe, a couple more sentences which give an example or explain how you came to think that.

    As you are currently playing this word game, each of us is expected to try to dig some meaning out of a word salad so that you can go, “Yah! Boo! Sucks! That’s not what I meant.” You never get around to telling us what you do mean.

    Not clever.

  82. Al Dente says

    Reality_based_community @90

    Maureen Brian – “Let us scroll back up to your @ 39. I am not going to comment on what it actually says…”

    I think that’s rather been my point…

    Your point is that you’ve been vague and ambiguous so you can claim “I never said that” when people try to figure out your equivocations and casuistry.

    Also you’ve been told how to blockquote. Are you too stupid to follow those instructions or do you care so little about your readers that you can’t be bothered? Either choice doesn’t say much about you. In case you’re just hard of thinking, writing <blockquote></blockquote> gives:

    Stuff to be quoted

  83. Reality_based_community says

    AD –

    If you find anything I’ve said that is “vague or ambiguous” please let me know and I’ll clarify. I believe my posts consist of (more or less) grammatically correct sentences strung together in a logical and coherent manner, and that employ pretty clear signifiers that point to real-world referents.

    When I find statements unclear, I usually ask the speaker / writer to clarify, as opposed being tendentious and attributing to them wild-ass motives and meanings that can’t be reasonably be extrapolated or inferred from any reasonable reading, accuse them of playing word games and call them names. (which has now happened on this thread so many times I’ve lost count). Perhaps that’s just me, but I find it tends to foster a more meaningful level of communication. But perhaps communication isn’t really the purpose of some commentators – the use of language always has multiple layers of meaning (such as using language to engage in pointless pissing matches).

  84. Jack Stone says

    @59
    1. No 2. Of course it would be the same. 3. It likely is dogmatic and there is no philosophy. However, non-A+ is not an entity. Also even if people with poor arguments are motivated by A that does not necessarily delegitimize any argument based on A.

    So, as to dogma, are the principles stated as things A+ supporters personally agree with, or is there expectation that they are socially binding? Because every insult and the goals of A+ suggests the latter.

    Based on what is the FAQ representative of what (many) A+ supporters effectively communicate?

    Nice attempt to pigeonhole me.

    @64
    The evidence is in the form of typical internet intimidation and accusations made merely for being anti-A+. That may describe the sort of behavior you see from nearly every side on every issue, but it seems quite frequent to me on FTB.

    Fair enough on atheism being suggestive of dogma generally. Perhaps I may come across as a bit elitist, but I don’t think that’s any reason to shut up.

    @85
    “Kinda like the ideal gas law? I doubt it, human dynamics is more complicated than molecules bouncing around.”

    Perhaps you are right, but then I think that while the process by which plants procure and use energy is complex, the act of light falling on leaves is simple.

    Is humanism dogmatic? I suppose technically yes but I never got the message that agreement is related to the fate of middle earth.

    @89
    Sure, if we are talking only of association. There is no requirement to be impartial when deciding who to associate with. If you’re going to actually judge other people though you are not entitled to their choices unless you earn it.

  85. John Morales says

    Jack Stone @95:

    Perhaps you are right [predictable relationship between emphasis on social pressure to conform and de-emphasis on the justification for conformity], but then I think that while the process by which plants procure and use energy is complex, the act of light falling on leaves is simple.

    Just as physical interactions are explained by physics and biological interactions by biology, so are social interactions explained by psychology and sociology. It is there you should seek your answer.

    Is humanism dogmatic? I suppose technically yes but I never got the message that agreement is related to the fate of middle earth.

    So with that aspect of A+ you have no beef, for the reason you stated.

    It follows that it’s not dogma per se which you find remarkably objectionable, but rather you perception that its adherents hold it to be of paramount importance.

    Right?

  86. Reality_based_community says

    MB @92 –

    Well, one of us is playing some sort of game, but apparently I’m not in on it.

    Let me boil down what I’ve already said in simple declarative sentences:

    1. I didn’t find anything in JG’s video particularly offensive.
    2. Can anybody explain what they might have found offensive in the video?
    3. I think we all need to be more mindful of others, even if they deviate, however slightly, from our own views.
    4. Doing the opposite, magnifying differences and drawing battle lines over stuff that is inconsequential isn’t overly productive.
    5. It’s usually also counterproductive to be dismissive of or demonize perceived opponents, and point to irrelevant supposed flaws (such as selling t-shirts or taking illicit drugs) rather than directly engage their points or perceived objectionable behavior.

    There were a few more points I made, but this short list should be sufficient for now. Also, I lied at the beginning as these aren’t simple declarative sentences. However, I would hope they are clear and unambiguous. Disclaimer: nothing written, either explicit or implied, should suggest that I support rape culture, rape threats, racism, discrimination, or any other untoward behavior.

  87. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Reality_based_community @94, did you fail to see Tessa’s comment @80, or are you conspicuously avoiding it?

  88. says

    @Jack Stone:

    1. No

    Then why bring up those complaints in the context of the knitting analogy?

    2. Of course it would be the same.

    So atheism is a dogma then too.

    3. It likely is dogmatic and there is no philosophy. However, non-A+ is not an entity.

    Isn’t it? Jaclyn Glenn is certainly a non-A+ atheist. The people at r/againstatheismplus and the Slyme Pit are certainly non-A+ atheists. They congregate, they exert social pressure to accept certain conclusions, sounds like they fit your definition of dogmatism.

    Also even if people with poor arguments are motivated by A that does not necessarily delegitimize any argument based on A.

    This is certainly true, and I’ve already mentioned that there are legitimate critiques of Atheism+. What delegitimizes your critiques is that they are based on myths and misinformation, and that your definition of “dogma” is so broad as to cut against your own points.

    So, as to dogma, are the principles stated as things A+ supporters personally agree with, or is there expectation that they are socially binding?

    The principles stated on the Atheism+ page are the basic principles that led people to develop Atheism+ as a label and identity to begin with. The people who started the forum, commented on Jen’s original post, and so forth already generally agreed with those principles.

    I don’t understand what you mean by “socially binding.” Binding on whom? Who enforces the bonds? Atheism+ forums and groups are mostly set up as safe spaces where participants might generally be assumed to share those values (just as, say, skeptic forums and groups are mostly set up as safe spaces where participants might generally be assumed to share skeptical values), but even the main Atheism+ forum has a 101-level board.

    Because every insult and the goals of A+ suggests the latter.

    Please provide citations for these insults and goals.

    Based on what is the FAQ representative of what (many) A+ supporters effectively communicate?

    Whatever you’re trying to say there was ineffectively communicated.

    Nice attempt to pigeonhole me.

    What am I supposed to be pigeonholing you as? Someone who “peddl[es] ludicrous counterfactual myths as passed through a game of Internet telephone, which could be corrected easily by going to the primary sources or the FAQ page”? That’s not pigeonholing, Jack. That’s an accurate description of your content.

    The evidence is in the form of typical internet intimidation and accusations made merely for being anti-A+.

    Perhaps you do not understand what “evidence” means. It does not mean “another generalized assertion without any quotations, links, or other means of substantiating that it describes something which actually exists.”

    And, again, take a look at what the anti-A+ people are offering, and see if that doesn’t (better) match the descriptor “intimidation and accusations.”

    That may describe the sort of behavior you see from nearly every side on every issue,

    No, on this issue, I only see one side engaging in intimidation, and it’s not the Atheism+ folks.

    but it seems quite frequent to me on FTB.

    Then it should be trivial for you to find multiple links to substantiate this claim.

    Is humanism dogmatic? I suppose technically yes but I never got the message that agreement is related to the fate of middle earth.

    You don’t think humanists think the world would be a better place if everyone adopted humanist values? Don’t all groups with moral values believe the world would be a better place if everyone held the same values?

    If you’re going to actually judge other people though you are not entitled to their choices unless you earn it.

    This is incoherent. Anyone can judge whomever they like, for whatever reason.

  89. John Morales says

    Reality_based_community @97:

    1. I didn’t find anything in JG’s video particularly offensive.
    2. Can anybody explain what they might have found offensive in the video?
    3. I think we all need to be more mindful of others, even if they deviate, however slightly, from our own views.
    4. Doing the opposite, magnifying differences and drawing battle lines over stuff that is inconsequential isn’t overly productive.
    5. It’s usually also counterproductive to be dismissive of or demonize perceived opponents, and point to irrelevant supposed flaws (such as selling t-shirts or taking illicit drugs) rather than directly engage their points or perceived objectionable behavior.

    1 seems odd, given the video in question contravenes 3 and indulges in 4 and 5.

    (Which explains 2)

  90. says

    Jack Stone @95:

    Sure, if we are talking only of association. There is no requirement to be impartial when deciding who to associate with. If you’re going to actually judge other people though you are not entitled to their choices unless you earn it.

    Your assertions are contradictory. By choosing who to associate with, you have to judge them.

    I choose not to associate with racists because I judge them to be nasty people I’d prefer to avoid, for example.

    People who openly state that they are opposed to the atheism+ concept are telling me that they are opposed to atheism and/or social justice. I am free to judge them on that basis.

    Besides which, who is the arbiter of whether or not I’ve “earned” the right to judge someone. It must either be me or the person I might want to judge since there may be nobody else involved. If the former, of course I’m going to say I’ve earned it. If the latter, of course they’re going to say I haven’t. So your second assertion makes no practical sense to begin with.

  91. says

    Reality_based_community – the issue isn’t that the video is “offensive.” That’s a usually silly word, and it’s irrelevant. You’re the first person on this thread to use it, and also the only person apart from Maureen (who used it once).

    So you’re not even talking in the same terms.

  92. chigau (違う) says

    PSA
    Blockquoting 101
    Doing this:
    <blockquote>paste copied text here</blockquote>
    results in this

    paste copied text here

    This will make your comments easier to read.
    It will do nothing for the content of your comments.
    Thank you.

  93. Reality_based_community says

    OB –

    I use the term “offensive” because this entire thread seems to be taking *offense* with it, or are offended by it. Let me rephrase the question, what do people here find objectionable about it? I’m asking an honest question.

  94. John Morales says

    Reality_based_community @104:

    Let me rephrase the question, what do people here find objectionable about it?

    I refer you to my #81.

  95. Reality_based_community says

    Alright, let me attempt to use the block quote since that appears to be a strictly enforced protocol here. Let’s see if this works:

    Reality_based_community @97:

    1. I didn’t find anything in JG’s video particularly offensive.
    2. Can anybody explain what they might have found offensive in the video?
    3. I think we all need to be more mindful of others, even if they deviate, however slightly, from our own views.
    4. Doing the opposite, magnifying differences and drawing battle lines over stuff that is inconsequential isn’t overly productive.
    5. It’s usually also counterproductive to be dismissive of or demonize perceived opponents, and point to irrelevant supposed flaws (such as selling t-shirts or taking illicit drugs) rather than directly engage their points or perceived objectionable behavior.

    1 seems odd, given the video in question contravenes 3 and indulges in 4 and 5.

    (Which explains 2)

    Well, I suppose one could interpret it that way. But a video against unnecessary divisiveness doesn’t strike me as a video that is attempting to magnify differences and increase divisiveness. But I suppose it’s strange how words gets around.

  96. chigau (違う) says

    Reality_based_community

    …strictly enforced protocol here…

    What the fuck are you talking about?

  97. says

    Reality_based_community @106:

    Alright, let me attempt to use the block quote since that appears to be a strictly enforced protocol here.

    So you feel free to engage in your own point #4 and #5, even though you think those are bad things.

    People begged you to use blockquotes so that they’d be able to read your posts more easily. Nobody threatened you with banning for failing to use blockquotes. But instead of being mindful and engaging directly, you instead turned their pleas into a fascism that doesn’t exist. Bravo on your hypocrisy.

  98. Reality_based_community says

    Reality_based_community @77, you don’t see that it sought to mock A+ as something “substantive about JG’s video”? That is, the issue of whether A+ is mock-worthy for the reasons purportedly provided in that video.

    (Were someone to make a video mocking you by caricaturing you and your position, would you not think that was substantively worthy of objection?)

    ok, this is something concrete. I missed this post earlier. I would suggest, then, that your primary objection is the tone and manner by which JG attempted to convey her message via satire. But that’s her schtick, and satire has a long an noble tradition. Whether she does if very deftly is a matter of opinion, and I’m not equipped to answer that question in any kind of quantifiable . or objective manner. And no, I wouldn’t be particularly offended by somebody satirizing me, particularly if they had a valid point. Would you find it less objectionable if she had just deadpanned “folks shouldn’t magnify differences, especially when they agree on virtually every issue?” Which she actually did say, though it’s not a verbatim quote.

  99. says

    Oy, RBC. You really are bordering on trolling.

    People prefer block quotes because they make reading easier – quoted passages are marked off from the commenter’s own words. That’s all. That’s why books and magazines use them, too – they make it easier.

    There’s no reason to be snotty about it.

    Please don’t troll. It’s a waste of space.

  100. screechymonkey says

    RBC @104:

    what do people here find objectionable about it? I’m asking an honest question

    I’m trying to be charitable, but it’s really, really, hard to believe that it is in fact an “honest question,” because people have told you repeatedly in this very thread what their objections are to the video. And most of this thread — starting with the OP — hasn’t really been about the video itself but the follow-up reaction. There are other posts and threads that go into more detail about why people were irritated by it.

    If I may presume to sum up the objections on behalf of many commenters, it is that Glenn’s video was a substance-free smear job that engaged in hyperbole and strawmanning. If you’d like a sampling of comments in this thread alone, here you go:

    Jackie@17:

    The poorly produced videos?
    The lack of content or reasoning in those videos?

    WithinThisMind@24:

    What is JG’s point, exactly? What, specifically, is she ‘satirizing’? What actual issue is she supposedly addressing?
    All I’ve seen from her is setting up strawmen and ineptly knocking them down, but looking purty when doing it.

    Tom Foss@28:

    Just so we’re clear, what grade level of sniping is it when you call people pussies and put on costumes to make fun of them?

    @33:

    Now, there’s a pretty specific group of people who identify/identified as Atheism+, and they would be the first to tell you that there’s nothing really radical about their feminism, for the most part–radical feminism being an actual term with actual meaning, that is. What’s that called, where you lie about an opponent’s position to make it easier to attack? What grade do they teach that one in?

    @68:

    Aside from the various strawmen and hypocrisy that have been dissected in other posts here at this blog, what you continue to fail to understand is that Glenn’s latest video is part of a series she’s been doing attacking feminists, going back at least as far as her counterfactual, denialist, ableist Elliot Rodger video. More than that, it’s part of a larger campaign against feminists, by Glenn and others. Glenn’s videos do not exist in a vacuum, and you’re seeing people argue against it it, accurately, as part of a larger context–a context that Glenn is aware of (you can’t be pals with The Amazing Atheist and not be aware of it) and working from.

    Tessa @80:

    *snort* She didn’t say anything substantive… That’s the point.

    And all of this is in addition to the fact that, as many, particularly Tom Foss, have tried to explain to you at great length, Glenn’s single video is part of a broader context of statements by her and by others. But you keep refusing to consider that context, dismissing it as “junior high drama” that you can’t be bothered to pay attention to.

  101. Reality_based_community says

    Dave W @86:

    Reality_based_community @106:

    Alright, let me attempt to use the block quote since that appears to be a strictly enforced protocol here.

    So you feel free to engage in your own point #4 and #5, even though you think those are bad things.

    People begged you to use blockquotes so that they’d be able to read your posts more easily. Nobody threatened you with banning for failing to use blockquotes. But instead of being mindful and engaging directly, you instead turned their pleas into a fascism that doesn’t exist. Bravo on your hypocrisy.

    Dave, ummm, do you have a sense of humor? Can you not distinguish between good natured humor and accusations of fascism? Seriously didn’t mean to cause offense by that comment, brother.

  102. Reality_based_community says

    OB @110

    Oy, RBC. You really are bordering on trolling.

    People prefer block quotes because they make reading easier – quoted passages are marked off from the commenter’s own words. That’s all. That’s why books and magazines use them, too – they make it easier.

    There’s no reason to be snotty about it.

    Please don’t troll. It’s a waste of space.

    I really wasn’t attempting to be snotty. Perhaps a failed attempt at humor, largely at my own expense, since I’ve never posted before on a blog that possessed this functionality and was ignorant of it. But jeez, is everyone on a hair trigger?

  103. John Morales says

    Reality_based_community @106:

    But a video against unnecessary divisiveness doesn’t strike me as a video that is attempting to magnify differences and increase divisiveness.

    A video against unnecessary divisiveness in the form of mockery via contrived allegorical caricature?

    You yourself claimed it “was against the mode of argumentation that treats any deviation from a narrow orthodoxy as high treason”.

    BTW, here you are, arguing with some of the very people mocked therein.

    Where is that mode of argumentation?

    I put it to you that, much like Jack Stone’s dogma, it seems conspicuous by its absence.

    @109:

    I would suggest, then, that your primary objection is the tone and manner by which JG attempted to convey her message via satire. But that’s her schtick, and satire has a long an noble tradition. Whether she does if very deftly is a matter of opinion, and I’m not equipped to answer that question in any kind of quantifiable . or objective manner. And no, I wouldn’t be particularly offended by somebody satirizing me, particularly if they had a valid point. Would you find it less objectionable if she had just deadpanned “folks shouldn’t magnify differences, especially when they agree on virtually every issue?” Which she actually did say, though it’s not a verbatim quote.

    Yes, the medium and the mode of the message are of relevance, as I’ve just noted in this comment; but it was not my personal objection, I was noting that there is at least one obvious, substantive reason to find the video objectionable (which your response tacitly acknowledges) and which was a response to your “I just haven’t seen anything substantive about JG’s video.”

    @113:

    But jeez, is everyone on a hair trigger?

    But there really is no such strictly enforced protocol, the which is copiously evident from the preceding comments.
    Your humour relies on a stereotype of this place, not on its actuality.

    (And honestly, isn’t it better with blockquotes?)

  104. says

    RBC – Ok, never mind.

    The hair trigger is probably unavoidable on established blogs – there’s always a lot of background that new commenters are unaware of, and it can get frustrating trying to explain it. We should probably try to do better.

  105. John Morales says

    [oops]

    The subtext in my previous was intended to refer to the medium and the mode of the message” but I flubbed the markup editing.

  106. Reality_based_community says

    Schreechymonkey @111

    I’ve already responded to most of the commenter you quote. I agree the title of the vid was a unnecessarily provocative. I also agree that the negative reaction here seems provoked by some broader context within which JG is somehow implicated. Part of it seems to be that she is endorsed, or at least given some degree of praise, by Richard Dawkins, who is apparently persona non grata now. And part of it seems to be with others that she associates with, though the term “association” is not clear in this context. People she allows to post on her various sites? She appears to allow anybody to post, including those that threaten her with rape or murder. She also allows all kinds of other mean-spirited and obnoxious people to post as well without censure. I certainly don’t interpret that to mean that she endorses such persons.

    If somebody can point me to the relevant context, I’d appreciate it, and would be more than happy to change my mind given relevant intel. For example, what prior JG videos are available? Who has she endorsed and in what way that is objectionable?

  107. says

    Reality_based_community @112:

    Dave, ummm, do you have a sense of humor? Can you not distinguish between good natured humor and accusations of fascism?

    Do you not realize that I can’t read your mind to determine that you were good-natured, when the context behind the discussion is a purposefully nasty video which uses the exact same sort of humor you just employed?

    Seriously didn’t mean to cause offense by that comment, brother.

    You being (apparently, at the time) hypocritical is not offensive to me. Do you honestly not understand how to deal with criticism, and so instead find a need to characterize all criticism of you as other people taking offense?

  108. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Richard Carrier has posted on this — check the sidebar.

    As always, scholarly.

  109. Reality_based_community says

    John –

    A video against unnecessary divisiveness in the form of mockery via contrived allegorical caricature?

    That’s pretty much the very definition of satire, John. It relies on exaggeration of various tendencies to highlight a perceived problem. Swift’s A Modest Proposal wasn’t actually purporting to say that the English were actually advocating eating Irish children.

    You yourself claimed it “was against the mode of argumentation that treats any deviation from a narrow orthodoxy as high treason”.

    I still think that is the case.

    BTW, here you are, arguing with some of the very people mocked therein.

    Where is that mode of argumentation?

    I put it to you that, much like Jack Stone’s dogma, it seems conspicuous by its absence.

    You’ll find it in this very thread…cf all of the attribution to me of views I don’t hold and propositions I have never made.

  110. says

    If somebody can point me to the relevant context, I’d appreciate it,

    The little blue words are links. If you click them with your cursor, they take you to other websites. I linked to a post of Alex Gabriel’s with a brief roundup of relevant incidents, way back at #54. If you look back on this very blog, you’ll find additional posts about Glenn’s videos specifically, and I linked to one further up.

    As for Glenn’s other videos, are you serious? They’re all on her YouTube page. Of specific interest are her most recent ones about feminists, and the ones about Elliot Rodger. Cristina Rad thoroughly debunked the latter prior to Glenn’s most recent videos, and curiously is a feminist with very blond hair.

    As for how she “associates” with thoroughly disgusting creeps like The Amazing Atheist, the first goddamn image in the OP is of Glenn’s Twitter timeline, where she retweets TAA, who she also follows. As has been pointed out repeatedly, she’s apparently in a t-shirt selling venture with him and Cult of Dusty.

    One thing you’ll find frequently, R_b_c, is that people generally have low tolerance for folks who blunder into a space, cluelessly make pronouncements, and then demand to be educated. Google exists for a reason, and the reasonable person does the research before sounding off.

  111. John Morales says

    Reality_based_community @121, are you seriously contending that “the attribution to me of views I don’t hold and propositions I have never made” is an example of “the mode of argumentation that treats any deviation from a narrow orthodoxy as high treason”?

  112. screechymonkey says

    RBC, do you really not get the point?

    John was not objecting to the use of satire, he was pointing out the hypocrisy of someone whining about divisiveness among atheists while simultaneously mocking her fellow atheists. If her point was that we all really don’t disagree that much, the differences are small, and we should all be pulling together, then her tactic of exaggerating the differences, mocking the values the other atheists she’s targeting hold dear, and portraying her opponents as idiots is both hypocritical and counterproductive to her stated goals.

    Note that I have absolutely no objection to satire, mockery, ridicule, exaggeration, and invective. They’re all useful tools. But not terrible effective when you’re supposedly making the point that “hey, we should all be friends here.” It’s the equivalent of saying “hey, we should all be friends here, and we would be if you would stop being such a fucking blithering moron and spouting all that bullshit and by the way don’t use so much fucking profanity.”

  113. John Morales says

    RBC, check out “FTB recent” on the sidebar of this very page right now.

  114. Reality_based_community says

    A fairly reasoned argument John. I’m not sure that I agree with the predominant criticism that she failed to “start from particulars and move to the general.” In strict logic, that is the proper method. But in human discourse, and all that entails, naming names and calling out particular individuals can be unnecessarily inflammatory, and it tends to impede rational argumentation because it then implicates specific personalities rather than conveying a general idea. I try to avoid that myself. I do think there is some value in not making it personal.

  115. John Morales says

    RBC @127, but the title of the video and its description do name one name: Atheism+, and though its mischaracterised contents do not, they’re nonetheless clearly intended as metonymy.

  116. screechymonkey says

    I’m not sure that I agree with the predominant criticism that she failed to “start from particulars and move to the general.” In strict logic, that is the proper method. But in human discourse, and all that entails, naming names and calling out particular individuals can be unnecessarily inflammatory, and it tends to impede rational argumentation because it then implicates specific personalities rather than conveying a general idea. I try to avoid that myself. I do think there is some value in not making it personal.

    1. Identifying the people who hold the views you’re critiquing needn’t be “making it personal.” If you stick to criticizing the views and not the character of the person holding them, there’s nothing “personal” about it.

    2. Carrier’s criticism wasn’t simply that Glenn failed to name the people she was criticizing, it’s that he failed to provide specific examples of the viewpoints she was criticizing. It’s a problem when someone can watch your entire video about “radical feminism” and still not know what you mean by “radical feminism.”

    3. Not “naming names” isn’t very helpful when everyone thinks they know who you’re talking about anyway. Either they’re right, in which case you’ve accomplished nothing by withholding the names, or they’re wrong, and now your argument is going to be misunderstood. Again, context. If you read an opinion piece in which the author rants about how sick he is of these “militant atheists” who write books and give lectures about how science has disproven god, etc. etc. … you can strongly suspect that such a screed is aimed at (among others) Richard Dawkins, because he seems to be (one of) the targets of pretty much all attacks of that genre. Well, for the last couple of years now, it’s been pretty apparent that when someone starts ranting about “radical feminists” trying to take over atheism, they’re thinking of the bloggers at FtB and Skepchick and posters at Atheism+. And considering that Glenn’s previous video criticizing feminists was responded to by a video from Christina Rad, what conclusion are we to draw when her next video criticizing feminists features a straw “feminist” in a long blonde wig?

  117. John Morales says

    screechymonkey @129:

    It’s a problem when someone can watch your entire video about “radical feminism” and still not know what you mean by “radical feminism.”

    It’s also suggestive when one needs prepping to know which specific group is supposedly being satirised.

    A video about Atheism+ and pussies. How appropriate. For those of you wondering- Atheism + is pretty much atheism plus radical feminism. This is my skit explaining my feelings on it ;)

    Impersonal.

  118. Tessa says

    Reality Based Community:

    Well, one of us is playing some sort of game, but apparently I’m not in on it.

    Let me boil down what I’ve already said in simple declarative sentences:

    1. I didn’t find anything in JG’s video particularly offensive.
    2. Can anybody explain what they might have found offensive in the video?
    3. I think we all need to be more mindful of others, even if they deviate, however slightly, from our own views.
    4. Doing the opposite, magnifying differences and drawing battle lines over stuff that is inconsequential isn’t overly productive.
    5. It’s usually also counterproductive to be dismissive of or demonize perceived opponents, and point to irrelevant supposed flaws (such as selling t-shirts or taking illicit drugs) rather than directly engage their points or perceived objectionable behavior.

    There were a few more points I made, but this short list should be sufficient for now. Also, I lied at the beginning as these aren’t simple declarative sentences. However, I would hope they are clear and unambiguous. Disclaimer: nothing written, either explicit or implied, should suggest that I support rape culture, rape threats, racism, discrimination, or any other untoward behavior.

    (The bolded parts are examples of you being overly vague. Earlier you asked for examples)

    1) Of course you didn’t see anything offensive, you agreed with it:

    JG has a point, one that confirms my own experiences on many occasions, not least your own site PZ. Just speaking frankly. JG was making the a point not against feminism per se, nor against anything re substantive ideas. Rather, it was against the mode of argumentation that treats any deviation from a narrow orthodoxy as high treason. Even when you agree on the vast majority of substantive issues. I’ve seen it countless times.

    Since you’ve seen it “countless times” Please please please give us an example. (this is my third time asking)

    2) Either she a)has specific examples of what she’s satirizing, or b)she’s just building a strawman of nothing. If it’s a) what is it? If it’s b) I find that pretty offensive.

    3) Back to 1. Provide examples, and what do you consider a “narrow deviation”

    4) Also back to 1. What inconsequential stuff has battle lines drawn over them?

    5) I don’t know when selling T-shirts suddenly became bad… Maybe some are objecting to WHO she’s selling them with… But I’m pretty sure T-shirts aren’t the devil.

  119. Reality_based_community says

    Tessa – The following is a response on this very thread that appears to magnify differences by attributing to me words I didn’t say and beliefs I don’t hold. A suitable example?

    <blockquote"
    Yes you fucking well are. Denying it doesn’t make it less true. Maybe you should think through all the implications of what you’re saying more, because that is the clear implication of everything you’ve said so far: that “issues of equitable treatment, of harassment and bullying, of equal representation on panels, of objectification, of child care at conferences, of reproductive rights, of women’s issues and queer issues and race issues and disability issues and mental health issues, are not as important as the common goal of combating religious privilege and reinforcing the wall of separation of church and state.” That really, really is exactly what you’re saying.

    There was no implication of any of the items mentioned in this quote that appeared in any of my posts – I didn’t say or imply that “issues of equitable treatment” or unimportant, or that reproductive rights aren’t important, or that bullying is unimportant, of any of the other items are unimportant. So it seems to me that this is a particularly egregious example of attempting to create differences where none exist.

  120. Tessa says

    Reality Based Community:

    Tessa – The following is a response on this very thread that appears to magnify differences by attributing to me words I didn’t say and beliefs I don’t hold. A suitable example?

    So Jaclyn Glenn made a video about this thread? In the past???? I was asking for examples that Jaclyn Glenn had a point about.

    There was no implication of any of the items mentioned in this quote that appeared in any of my posts – I didn’t say or imply that “issues of equitable treatment” or unimportant, or that reproductive rights aren’t important, or that bullying is unimportant, of any of the other items are unimportant. So it seems to me that this is a particularly egregious example of attempting to create differences where none exist.

    Well… You say things like:

    This JG kerfuffle, is, though, inconsequential bullshit as far as I can see. I’ve spent time and money and protesting energy on many of the issues you mention. I just don’t see that the source of all those problems is Richard Dawkins or Dusty or JG. In fact, I suspect that all of them would totally agree with you. Perhaps I’m wrong…I’ve seen this in other communities
    And provide no examples. So people who know about the situations and the “deep rifts” have to pull examples from their own experience and knowledge of the context. You then deny that is what you mean, saying you didn’t say that, but when people ask for actual examples you don’t provide them. Or you say something glib and counter productive as you did just now.

  121. Tessa says

    Bah, I failed at block quoting (and I quoted the wrong thing! What the heck?)… Attempt 2 starting at the second quote:

    There was no implication of any of the items mentioned in this quote that appeared in any of my posts – I didn’t say or imply that “issues of equitable treatment” or unimportant, or that reproductive rights aren’t important, or that bullying is unimportant, of any of the other items are unimportant. So it seems to me that this is a particularly egregious example of attempting to create differences where none exist.

    Well… You say things like:

    I’m honestly not trolling for an argument (I have a professional I pay for that). My only point is that the items of disagreements between you, Atheism +, and, say JG or Dusty or Richard Dawkins (???? ) are greatly magnified out of all proportion. Or so it appears to me.

    And provide no examples. So people who know about the situations and the “deep rifts” have to pull examples from their own experience and knowledge of the context. You then deny that is what you mean, saying you didn’t say that, but when people ask for actual examples you don’t provide them. Or you say something glib and counter productive as you did just now.

  122. Reality_based_community says

    Tessa- I’m having trouble following your argument. True, it’s Friday and I’m spending most of this time strumming my guitar on a lazy evening. So some indulgence and forbearance, by all that is holy, should be accorded to me here. Perhaps I misunderstand what you were saying. I had thought that you asked for clarification and an example of my statement that “magnifying differences and drawing battle lines over stuff that is inconsequential isn’t overly productive” In all humility, I would suggest, as my example seems to illustrate, that attacking me for stuff I have never said nor believe would be a magnification of differences that don’t exist. As per the example…which you asked for.

    Of course, I could be too drunk and too focused on trying to find the correct chords here.

  123. says

    To echo Tessa, you came in here saying “It all seems driven rather by ego to me, and be personality and by stylistic differences rather than substantive differences” (driven by ego? What was that about “imputing motives to others with absolutely no evidential basis”?) and “The style she’s attacking inhibits open, honest and free dialog among people who should be allies, and rather quickly degenerates into name calling and petty squabbling over inconsequential bullshit.”

    So let’s parse that out into basic components:
    1. It [whatever "it" is] is driven by stylistic differences rather than substantive differences
    2. The style she’s attacking [presumably the Atheism+ style] inhibits dialog
    3. The people involved should be allies
    4. The style Glenn’s attacking quickly degenerates into petty squabbling over inconsequential bullshit

    Note that components 1 and 4 both dismiss the differences as you see them, as non-substantive, petty, and inconsequential bullshit. Since you fail to actually list which differences you’re talking about, it’s up to us to figure them out. Since Glenn’s video was (nominally) about Atheism+, the logical conclusion is that you think the differences between Atheism+ and other atheists are non-substantive, petty, inconsequential bullshit.

    If you would be specific about which differences are inconsequential bullshit, that would clear things up nicely.

    You say that these groups of people, again given the topic of the video presumably Atheism+ and other atheists, “should be allies.” The issues that Atheism+ cares about in addition to atheism and secularism are, in some cases, contentious, and the subject of much abuse and vitriol in this community. The main goals of Atheism+ have been to enact anti-harassment policies at cons, seek diversity in speaker lineups, and generally to consider larger issues of diversity both in terms of how conferences are organized, how we reach out to different groups, and what issues we try to tackle. On every one of these issues, Atheism+ proponents and like-minded individuals have faced fervent opposition. What we have learned is that while we may share a common lack of belief in gods, we often do not share significant values, up to and including the humanity and equality of people in various marginalized groups. When you say these groups “should be allies,” the logical conclusion is that we should put those issues on which we differ–misogyny, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, etc.–aside and focus on the issue we have in common–atheism. Your further dismissive comments suggest that these issues are petty inconsequential bullshit.

    If you would be specific on which groups should be allies and why, that would clear things up nicely.

    You said that the style Glenn argued against “inhibits dialog,” and further, that said style was something you experienced frequently, and “treats any deviation from a narrow orthodoxy as high treason.” This hyperbole does little to clarify what you mean. What constitutes the “narrow orthodoxy”? How is “high treason” treated? Your example has been to offer up quotes about the unintended consequences of being ignorant and treating unspecified differences dismissively. Meanwhile, no one really understands what Glenn was trying to attack, since her own hyperbole and caricature came off as a strawman.

    If you would be specific about what this “style” is, how it “treats any deviation from a narrow orthodoxy as high treason,” how Glenn specifically argued against it, where you have seen it in action outside of this thread, and how it relates to your treatment here, that would clear things up nicely.

  124. Silentbob says

    @ 134 Tessa

    Hey Tessa, can you knock it off? Reality_based_community is trying to strum guitar while drunk and you’re distracting them with all your bothersome stuff about being treated as fully human.
    (/sarcasm)

  125. Tessa says

    Tessa- I’m having trouble following your argument. True, it’s Friday and I’m spending most of this time strumming my guitar on a lazy evening. So some indulgence and forbearance, by all that is holy, should be accorded to me here. Perhaps I misunderstand what you were saying. I had thought that you asked for clarification and an example of my statement that “magnifying differences and drawing battle lines over stuff that is inconsequential isn’t overly productive” In all humility, I would suggest, as my example seems to illustrate, that attacking me for stuff I have never said nor believe would be a magnification of differences that don’t exist. As per the example…which you asked for.

    Of course, I could be too drunk and too focused on trying to find the correct chords here.

    We are discussing Jaclyn Glen’s purpose of the video. Your 1) and 2) were:

    1. I didn’t find anything in JG’s video particularly offensive.
    2. Can anybody explain what they might have found offensive in the video?

    Now I’m am assuming based on the fact she most likely doesn’t have psychic powers (I will assum you don’t either), that when you said:

    JG has a point, one that confirms my own experiences on many occasions, not least your own site PZ. Just speaking frankly. JG was making the a point not against feminism per se, nor against anything re substantive ideas. Rather, it was against the mode of argumentation that treats any deviation from a narrow orthodoxy as high treason. Even when you agree on the vast majority of substantive issues. I’ve seen it countless times.

    You did not mean this thread… You must have examples that Jaclyn could have meant. Since you thought she had a point. This was in comment #9, so none of this had happened yet.
    My response to your 2) was:

    2) Either she a)has specific examples of what she’s satirizing, or b)she’s just building a strawman of nothing. If it’s a) what is it? If it’s b) I find that pretty offensive.

    See how this thread doesn’t fit a)?

  126. Reality_based_community says

    @ 134 Tessa

    Hey Tessa, can you knock it off? Reality_based_community is trying to strum guitar while drunk and you’re distracting them with all your bothersome stuff about being treated as fully human.
    (/sarcasm)

    Apparently, once again, I failed at humor. Does anybody on this thread have a sense of humor? If so, can you let it out a bit? I’m going to bed. Peace brothers and sisters.

  127. chigau (違う) says

    Reality_based_community
    I have a sense of humour.
    You aren’t funny.
    Silentbob is funny.

  128. says

    Somehow I missed this. Since it’s the closest we have to a specific claim, let’s go at it:

    My only point is that the items of disagreements between you, Atheism +, and, say JG or Dusty or Richard Dawkins (???? ) are greatly magnified out of all proportion. Or so it appears to me.

    I’m not familiar with Dusty, so I won’t speak to that. Here is an (incomplete) list of items on which Atheism+ would generally disagree with Jaclyn Glenn, based on the values of A+:
    1. Jaclyn Glenn dismissed and downplayed the role of misogyny in driving Elliot Rodger’s massacre, despite it being a clear motivating factor, and further refused to draw any parallels between Rodger’s words and memes promoted and propagated by other misogynists and the culture at large. Atheism+ recognizes that misogyny and sexism are actual problems in culture, and that Rodger’s ideas did not exist in a vacuum.
    2. Jaclyn Glenn sees no problem in conflating mental illness, insanity, and violence, engaging in ableist memes and language, and diagnosing mental illness without any expertise. Atheism+ opposes ableism and the stigma against mental illness.
    3. Jaclyn Glenn seems to think the best way to respond to criticism and argue against opponents is to dress up in costumes, make funny voices, and be otherwise dismissive, without much regard to making valid, non-fallacious arguments. Atheism+ values skepticism, which would discourage use of logical fallacies.
    4. Jaclyn Glenn thinks it’s appropriate to use gendered insults like “pussies.” Atheism+ would recognize that that term perpetuates sexist memes and attitudes about women’s bodies, women’s characters, and masculinity.
    5. Jaclyn Glenn values the feedback from and association with The Amazing Atheist, who has repeatedly threatened women with rape and tried to trigger rape survivors’ PTSD. Atheism+ would recognize the reality of rape culture, and that it is perpetuated when rape is treated as a joke, and when toxic attitudes and myths about rape carry no negative social consequences.

    As to Richard Dawkins, I’ll try to keep it to five as well.
    1. Dawkins has now, repeatedly, said and tweeted dismissive things about feminism, up to and including the notion that western women have no right to try to correct sexism in western culture, because women in fundamentalist Islamic countries are worse off. Atheism+ would recognize that misogyny is a problem everywhere, that addressing problems in one place does not prevent addressing worse problems elsewhere, that a problem is no less problematic just because other people somewhere have it worse, that this argument rests on fallacies that Dawkins would rightly recognize if coming from religious people, and that Dawkins only seems to care about Muslim women inasmuch as he can use them to make rhetorical points.
    2. Dawkins has repeatedly said and tweeted xenophobic, racist, and otherwise cluelessly Eurocentric things, perhaps most notably that the lack of Muslim Nobel Prize recipients says something meaningful about Muslim people, and most recently his assertion that four men from two European nations were the obvious pinnacles of their respective fields in all of human history. Atheism+ opposes racism and would recognize that cultural imperialism and the limits of education tend to result in ignorance about other cultures and the uninformed assumption that one’s own culture is objectively better than others.
    3. Dawkins has said that if a fetus is capable of feeling pain, then its rights may outweigh a pregnant woman’s right to control her own body. Atheism+ incorporates feminism, including the basic point that no one, not even a pain-feeling fetus, has the right to use anyone else’s body for any purpose without their consent.
    4. Dawkins has been dismissive of the victims of child sexual abuse, suggesting that because his own abuse was mild and non-traumatizing, that the victims of Catholic priests suffer more from believing in Hell than from being molested. Atheism+ would recognize that all victims are different, whether victims of religious indoctrination or molestation, and literally nothing is gained by trying to compare two very different kinds of trauma in a way that is likely to come across as dismissive.

    There you go, I’ll leave it at four. I’m depressed enough without going down another rabbit hole of Dawkins being depressing.

    So please, Reality_based_community, tell us which of those disagreements are greatly magnified out of all proportion.

  129. Maureen Brian says

    OK! Reality_based_community @ 97,

    1. I didn’t find anything in JG’s video particularly offensive.

    That is an opinion, your opinion. You cannot enforce it. You cannot treat it as a self-evident truth in discussion with others.

    2. Can anybody explain what they might have found offensive in the video?

    Among the causes which have been set out, here and elsewhere, are the following – if she’s attacking feminism why does she not critique feminism? does she show any signs of knowing about feminism which might give her critique some weight? is she playing to the well-known anti-feminist gallery? and, of course, she’s not very good at it. (Swift was good at it.) There are many other points to which you have been kindly linked but that will do for starters.

    3. I think we all need to be more mindful of others, even if they deviate, however slightly, from our own views.

    Answer No 1: I am 72 years old, well brought up and adequately educated. I do not need you setting a standard of politeness with which you expect me to conform.

    Answer No 2: Thinking does not move on, progress is not made without boisterous discourse and the odd punch-up. Most of us are here on this collection of blogs because we enjoy that process. Part of that movement of ideas is that we all ask each other to explain, to cite published evidence, to answer the “but what if ….” questions. There is no Party Line here but if there were I’m not clear enough about what you think to decide whether you deviate or not.

    (Talking of party lines, the best argument I ever had was in the street in central London with the late Paul Foot. It was the full scale, shout to be heard above the traffic thing. He and I would probably have agreed about 95%+ of everything but he was protesting a sponsor’s action and I was helping run the sponsored event, telling him he’d be better engaging with the people in the hall on that very point. We both went away from that invigorated and smiling. No excess of mindfulness, no harm done.)

    4. Doing the opposite, magnifying differences and drawing battle lines over stuff that is inconsequential isn’t overly productive.

    I don’t think that the achievement of full rights for women or the protection of progress already made are inconsequential. Do you?

    5. It’s usually also counterproductive to be dismissive of or demonize perceived opponents, and point to irrelevant supposed flaws (such as selling t-shirts or taking illicit drugs) rather than directly engage their points or perceived objectionable behavior.

    I can be abrasive. I do it on purpose. But you’d go a long way to find me criticising irrelevant details of behaviour and, besides, I favour the decriminalisation of all drugs. In all the discussion of this video I have seen very little criticism of the detail of Ms Glynn’s life. Noting the detail of her performance comes under “fair comment” as far as I can see.

    As for your last paragraph, I am glad to hear that those are your intentions. Some here, though, seem to have a better understanding of the forces for and against social change, any social change, and are conscious that they might well be at play here. Certain phrases and certain names act as warnings, just as a change in moorland vegetation might warn that you were walking into a swamp.

    Do you want to learn to understanding why other people have an opinion which differs from yours? Well, this is what a video effectively criticising someone else’s thinking looks like – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbcNppwco2U – and I recommend reading screechymonkey @ 111 again!

  130. Forbidden Snowflake says

    OT

    Does anybody on this thread have a sense of humor?

    It’s weird how so many people can pull the “You don’t like my joke, therefore you have no sense of humor” trope without the slightest pang of self-awareness; most of them would probably never say “you don’t like my cooking, therefore your sense of taste is lacking”. This “you don’t like what I put out -> something is wrong with you” logical leap only seems to apply to humor.

  131. Reality_based_community says

    Tom –

    Thanks Tom. It’s a long reply, and I don’t have a huge amount of spare time this morning, but let me address some of the issues you raise. Your concerns here have some validity, and deserve to be taken seriously. Allow me to offer an opposing point of view to some of them.

    1. Jaclyn Glenn dismissed and downplayed the role of misogyny in driving Elliot Rodger’s massacre, despite it being a clear motivating factor, and further refused to draw any parallels between Rodger’s words and memes promoted and propagated by other misogynists and the culture at large.

    I happened to see the original video and her follow-up video that addressed this accusation. I didn’t get at all the JG was dismissive of the role of misogyny on the massacre. But I do tend to agree with her assertion that it was *solely* misogyny that led to this act. Elliot’s video prior to the massacre makes it pretty obvious that the dude had a problem with women in general. Granted. But I find it very difficult to believe that his attitudes toward women is the only, or even predominant cause, of his action, though I can agree with your characterization that it was a “motivating factor,” (a point about which JG herself agreed, if I remember correctly). And not to “conflate mental illness…and violence,” but Elliot obviously had many other issues in his struggle with reality. I don’t know if he had a diagnosable mental illness, but he obviously wasn’t a well-adjusted kind of guy in all sorts of ways. I just find it very difficult to believe that the causal chain was “I hate women, so I’m going to kill a bunch of people (including men) just because I hate women.”

    And I guess to address point #2 – This isn’t “ableist.” It doesn’t suggest that there is in general a link between mental illness and violence, and I’m sure we are all familiar with the data on that score. But in *this particular case,* mental illness may have played a far more significant role than the misogyny. In fact, the wildly irrational misogyny that I saw in his video may itself have been symptomatic of some sort of mental illness.

    So, I agree that we all should be mindful of “ableism” with respect to those with a diagnosable mental illness, and agree that in general such persons are no more prone to violence than others, a contention unambiguously supported by the data. However, we should also not fail to examine how such illness may have contributed to Elliot’s actions *in this particular instance* Some individuals do commit violence by virtue of psychosis. Son of Sam comes to mind, in which case I can see no other plausible motive for just randomly killing strangers with no possible gain to be had other than to do the act itself. Perhaps it really was the talking dog.

    So on points #1 and #2, I’d say this is a pretty good example of magnifying differences.

  132. Reality_based_community says

    And I should add that this isn’t a trivial question. With the ready availability of near-military-grade weaponry from every Walmart and corner drug store, we really do need to think about the cause of violence among the small subclass of mentally unstable or delusional individuals that are prone to random acts of violence – these days, usually mass shootings. I’m thinking of the Gabby Giffords shooting, the theater shooting in Aurora (if memory serves), and like actions.

    And to go off on somewhat of a tangent, the role of a powerful class of psychotropic medicines that are given out like candy these days should also be explored. In which case it may not be the underlying health condition so much as the “cure” that produces violence. There is not strong evidence, but there is enough evidence that the issue really should be explored.

  133. Reality_based_community says

    FS, @ 143

    It’s weird how so many people can pull the “You don’t like my joke, therefore you have no sense of humor” trope without the slightest pang of self-awareness; most of them would probably never say “you don’t like my cooking, therefore your sense of taste is lacking”. This “you don’t like what I put out -> something is wrong with you” logical leap only seems to apply to humor.

    I’ll admit that I”m easily amused, and that I use humor as kind of an oil in social interaction. I find it helps people to not be so defensive, including myself, particularly when talking about contentious issues. And I readily admit that my attempts at humor may not actually be funny to many people…I’m not proud. My point was that people don’t seem to recognize the attempts for what they are, and respond as if I was trying to make some sort of serious point. Perhaps I need a humor font so that people know. *shrug*

  134. says

    Perhaps I need a humor font so that people know. *shrug*

    Or perhaps content that needs a homour font to be “properly” appreciated is a gratuitous intrusion upon a thread which is trying to discuss a substantive societal issue.

  135. Reality_based_community says

    Tigtog

    Or perhaps content that needs a homour font to be “properly” appreciated is a gratuitous intrusion upon a thread which is trying to discuss a substantive societal issue.

    You and I may have a clear difference of opinion here.

  136. says

    You and I may have a clear difference of opinion here.

    The difference of opinion on several vectors was clear from your first comment on this thread. This is not news.

  137. Reality_based_community says

    Tigtog

    The difference of opinion on several vectors was clear from your first comment on this thread. This is not news.

    I have no doubt about that. I think though that the thrust of my arguments has been that differences of opinion don’t define the lines of demarcation between good and evil. But obviously not everyone shares *that* opinion either.

  138. Reality_based_community says

    So OB has a good post on this blog about when one should abandon potential allies. It’s a nontrivial question. She asks at what point does a potential ally “cross the line?” I agree that people need to define a line that can’t be transgressed. My only comment would be that such lines shouldn’t be defined too narrowly.

    Perhaps as a brief follow-up to my response to John…Did Richard Dawkins cross that line? Yes, he penned several ill-conceived, even mean spirited and clueless posts to R. Watson that were far too dismissive of her concerns as “first world problems.” I have no idea what might have prompted him to do so. I don’t think anything Watson said prior to that even remotely deserved that kind of response. I do think that the series of reactions that followed blew it out of all recognizable proportions, though.

    Taken in the context of the entire corpus of his lifetime work, did he cross the line to the point where he has no value as a potential ally or that he is to be demonized and declared a heretic? I personally don’t think so. I don’t believe he is xenophobic, misogynist, racist or any of the other attributes that have previously been pinned on him in this thread. He was rather callous and arrogant and bullying (in a sort of polite English way). So did that cross the line? I’d be hesitant to say that he did.

  139. says

    Do you want feminists and anti-racists and advocates for the mentally ill and gay rights activists as allies in the fight against religious privilege, r_b_c?

    If so, you need to do better. I’m confident you can, based on the level of sophistry you’ve displayed here, which, though nearly content-free, is impressive in its labyrinthine character.

    If not, feel free to fuck off any time.

  140. Reality_based_community says

    SS

    Do you want feminists and anti-racists and advocates for the mentally ill and gay rights activists as allies in the fight against religious privilege, r_b_c?

    If so, you need to do better. I’m confident you can, based on the level of sophistry you’ve displayed here, which, though nearly content-free, is impressive in its labyrinthine character.

    If not, feel free to fuck off any time.

    I’m somewhat impressed by the display of irrationality here. Don’t presume to lecture me and don’t fucking patronize me. My posts have been an honest attempt to communicate and reach out to people that have a slightly different opinion about various issues. I find many of the people on here to be genuine and actually quite likable, even though they may *gasp* disagree with me. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.

    I’ve fucking marched in anti-racist demonstrations, and stared down cops that were only looking for an excuse to taze me or mace me or exercise some other form of brutality. Your extremely dismissive attitude simply conveys a level of arrogance that is difficult for me to comprehend. And I’ve already fucked off…in fact I inhabit Fuckofflandia.

  141. screechymonkey says

    RBC @154:

    Don’t presume to lecture me and don’t fucking patronize me. My posts have been an honest attempt to communicate and reach out to people that have a slightly different opinion about various issues.

    Damn, that’s another irony meter ruined.

    RBC’s first post in this thread, @9:

    JG has a point, one that confirms my own experiences on many occasions, not least your own site PZ. Just speaking frankly. JG was making the a point not against feminism per se, nor against anything re substantive ideas. Rather, it was against the mode of argumentation that treats any deviation from a narrow orthodoxy as high treason. Even when you agree on the vast majority of substantive issues. I’ve seen it countless times. Continue down this path and you’ll have a situation in which every two people is a party, and every three people are a party and a splinter faction. It all seems driven rather by ego to me, and be personality and by stylistic differences rather than substantive differences. JG has a valid point. The style she’s attacking inhibits open, honest and free dialog among people who should be allies, and rather quickly degenerates into name calling and petty squabbling over inconsequential bullshit. Let’s get it together man. Keep your wits about you. On all sides.

    Yeah, nothing lecturing or patronizing about that. Just a polite attempt to communicate that Glenn is right, PZ’s web site sucks, we’re all driven by ego, and the stuff we care about is inconsequential bullshit, so we should “get it together.”

    Just a polite seeker of honest and open discourse, that’s you. Quite the outreach effort.

  142. Reality_based_community says

    SM

    I’ll stand by the comment that there is a deficit of “getting it together.”

  143. screechymonkey says

    You can stand by it all you want. Frankly, I’d prefer it if you stuck by your snotty adversarial tone, because it’s at least honest.

    And just so we’re clear: I’m not offended by the tone. Be as blunt as you want. It’s fine. Most of us here are, too.

    But stop pretending that you came in here to reach out and have a nice discussion with everyone.

    Stop acting like the fact that people pushed back against your rather vigorous criticism is somehow an overreaction that “proves” your point. You picked a fight, you got one. Big surprise.

    Stop being a hypocrite complaining about other people giving lectures or being patronizing. You came in guns blazing, telling us all how we’re doing it all wrong, and Jaclyn Glenn is right about us, even though you later had to admit you didn’t know the full context of the discussion.

    Stop acting surprised that the people you insulted here from your very first post aren’t terribly enchanted by your “humour,” especially when your jokes always seem to be directed at other people rather than yourself.

    Stop acting surprised and hurt that nobody seems terribly inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt when you were on the attack from the first comment, taking the side of someone who dismisses us as “pussies” and our concerns as irrelevant.

  144. says

    Thanks Tom. It’s a long reply, and I don’t have a huge amount of spare time this morning, but let me address some of the issues you raise.

    OT here: I have never understood this, or the “I’m very busy so I don’t have time to read this thread or respond to points” dodge. I write long-winded posts, I know. Fisking is my main mode of argumentation. Sometimes, I don’t have time to sit down and draft a whole huge comment. In those times, I might try to think about the shortest thing I can say that gets across a point (f’r instance, I wrote #28 on my phone at a Barnes & Noble), or I might write a little and leave the window open so I can come back to it later. Sometimes I work on comments a little bit at a time, and have to play catch-up with the thread later on.

    What I rarely, if ever, do is say “I don’t have enough time to respond to this properly, so here’s a shitty response,” or worse “my time is very valuable, so I’m not going to bother to do any due diligence in engaging in this argument.”

    I just don’t understand the impulse. If you don’t have time to reply right now, don’t reply right now. Reply when you have time. The beauty of arguments on the Internet is that you can actually take some time to craft a response, and it really does work out better for everyone when you do.

    Anyway, back to the main event:

    I didn’t get at all the JG was dismissive of the role of misogyny on the massacre.

    She took a paragraph from his manifesto and said (paraphrasing) “how can you look at that and say he killed those people because of misogyny” and “it couldn’t have been misogyny because he killed more men than women.” She titled the video “Elliot Rodger: Madman vs. Misogynist” and spent at least large swaths arguing that he killed people because he was mentally ill/unstable/insane.

    I’m beginning to think that you just don’t understand how dismissiveness works.

    But I find it very difficult to believe that his attitudes toward women is the only, or even predominant cause, of his action, though I can agree with your characterization that it was a “motivating factor,” (a point about which JG herself agreed, if I remember correctly).

    His attitudes toward women were the factor that he said motivated his actions. He fantasized about a world where women were all locked in concentration camps and used for breeding stock. He specifically planned out his killing spree to go after the “hottest sorority on campus” for being bitches who rejected him sexually. Misogyny was a motivating factor here the way that racism was a motivating factor for lynchings.

    And not to “conflate mental illness…and violence,” but Elliot obviously had many other issues in his struggle with reality. I don’t know if he had a diagnosable mental illness, but he obviously wasn’t a well-adjusted kind of guy in all sorts of ways.

    I really do recommend watching Cristina Rad’s rebuttal, since she demonstrates, with evidence from Rodger’s own manifesto, that he was capable of distinguishing reality from fantasy. But yes, he almost certainly had other issues.

    What you say here, though, is important: “I don’t know if he had a diagnosable mental illness.” That’s right, you don’t. Neither do I, neither does Jaclyn. A reasonable person, a person who wasn’t steeped in a culture that stigmatizes mental illness, would not leap from “I don’t know if he had a diagnosable mental illness” to “he murdered people because he was mentally ill/unstable/insane.” Not only is “mental illness” far too broad a term, not only do “mental illness” and “insanity” have very different meanings, but without an actual diagnosis there’s no way to determine if he had a mental illness that would make him more prone to violence. If he had anorexia, would we say that’s why he killed those people?

    I just find it very difficult to believe that the causal chain was “I hate women, so I’m going to kill a bunch of people (including men) just because I hate women.”

    That’s what we in skeptic circles call an argument from ignorance. Again, watch Cristina Rad’s video, or read his manifesto. It’s very, very clear on that point.

    And I guess to address point #2 – This isn’t “ableist.”

    No, sorry, you’re wrong. Equating “mental illness” and “insanity” is very much ableist. Most mentally ill people are still quite sane, and Elliot Rodger was clearly not insane, using the legal sense of the word (which Glenn claimed to do). Assuming you can diagnose someone’s mental illness with no expertise, that all mental illnesses present outward signs that are obvious to non-psychiatrists whose only contact with the individual is through YouTube videos, is ableist. It relies on the offensive, wrong assumption that there are normal people and crazy people, and anyone can tell the difference.

    But in *this particular case,* mental illness may have played a far more significant role than the misogyny.

    It may have. Without a diagnosis, you have no evidence to suggest that it was. In fact, all the evidence shows that he was a narcissistic misogynist who coldly calculated a killing spree that would result in the deaths of women who wronged him, and that would prevent the police from stopping him before he could rack up a body count. Saying “it’s obvious that he’s mentally ill because only a mentally ill person would do that” is circular logic.

    In fact, the wildly irrational misogyny that I saw in his video may itself have been symptomatic of some sort of mental illness.

    May it have? What mental illness, pray tell? Which mental illness has “wildly irrational misogyny” as one of its symptoms? Is your degree in psychology or psychiatry?

    This, again, is ableism at work. Treating mental illness like it’s different from other kinds of illness, like it’s something any idiot with a YouTube account can diagnose. That is (say it with me) being profoundly dismissive of mental illness as actual illness. Conflating it with violence, assuming that violence (or irrationality) means mental illness and mental illness must be the main factor in violence, is ableist.

    However, we should also not fail to examine how such illness may have contributed to Elliot’s actions *in this particular instance*

    Right, and when we have evidence that he had a specific mental illness that contributes to violent actions or irrational beliefs, that will be when we examine it. Until then, this is like saying “we should also not fail to examine how explosives may have contributed to the collapse of the Twin Towers.”

    Some individuals do commit violence by virtue of psychosis.

    Yes, and some individuals do not. When Elliot Rodger is posthumously, professionally diagnosed as being psychotic, then we can discuss how psychosis figured into his killing spree.

    I really don’t think I should have to explain “the time to believe that X is the cause of Y is after you have specific evidence for the existence of X” on a skeptic site.

    So on points #1 and #2, I’d say this is a pretty good example of magnifying differences.

    And I think you’ve proven why, instead, they’re a pretty good example of you dismissing actual differences from your place of absolutely stunning privilege.

    we really do need to think about the cause of violence among the small subclass of mentally unstable or delusional individuals that are prone to random acts of violence – these days, usually mass shootings. I’m thinking of the Gabby Giffords shooting, the theater shooting in Aurora (if memory serves), and like actions.

    There’s that circular reasoning again. How do you know that the shooters in Aurora and the Gabby Giffords case were “mentally unstable or delusional”? What does “mentally unstable” mean, specifically? Do you think everyone who goes on a mass shooting is necessarily “mentally unstable or delusional”?

    I’ll admit that I”m easily amused, and that I use humor as kind of an oil in social interaction. I find it helps people to not be so defensive, including myself, particularly when talking about contentious issues.

    Here’s the thing: when you’re already being criticized for being dismissive of substantive issues, using flip humor just makes you look more dismissive. It doesn’t help that you’re really not that funny.

    I do think that the series of reactions that followed blew it out of all recognizable proportions, though.

    What reactions specifically “blew it out of all recognizable proportions”? What would be a proportional reaction to Dawkins’ continued antagonism of feminists and promotion of racist/xenophobic/culturally imperialist/otherwise bigoted and insensitive individuals and remarks?

    Taken in the context of the entire corpus of his lifetime work, did he cross the line to the point where he has no value as a potential ally or that he is to be demonized and declared a heretic?

    A “potential ally” for what and to whom? If he is going to be continually dismissive of women’s rights issues (unless they can be used to argue against Islam), then how can he be an ally to women?

    Also, how is he “demonized and declared a heretic”? What does that look like? Who, specifically, has “declared” him to be “a heretic”?

    I don’t believe he is xenophobic, misogynist, racist or any of the other attributes that have previously been pinned on him in this thread.

    I don’t think it’s worthwhile to debate whether or not someone is a bigot. The question is whether or not they do or say bigoted things. Richard Dawkins keeps saying bigoted things and promoting people who say bigoted things.

    So again, the question of being “an ally” is one that requires knowledge of what task we’re trying to accomplish. Richard Dawkins is obviously not “a potential ally” on the issue of women’s rights. Even within the atheist community, he does not seem to be “a potential ally” on fighting for diverse speaker lineups and robust anti-harassment policies and other issues of interest to feminists within movement atheism. Richard Dawkins is clearly not “a potential ally” when it comes to promoting atheism to Muslims or Arabs, as at best he will be seen as just another racist imperialist European.

    So what of promoting atheism generally? Sure, Dawkins is a potential ally. He’s written some good books, has a distinctive style and voice, and is a tireless advocate. But the more he says problematic shit, the more problematic he becomes as an ally. Too many people already believe that atheists are mostly sexist white men of privilege. Too many people already believe that atheists are professional wet blankets who sneer at Christmas and fairy tales and fantasy books. Too many people already believe that atheists are all racist Islamophobes. So when it comes time to choose allies, we have to weigh the benefits against the risks of continuing to confirm those stereotypes. Is the positive stuff that Dawkins brings to the table enough to outweigh the negative? Are there people who bring the same or similar positive stuff without the negative baggage?

    How you answer those questions is going to largely depend on your specific goals and specific priorities. IF you’re someone whose passion for feminism (for instance) equals or outweighs your passion for atheism, then you’re probably not going to see him as a potential ally. And you’re probably going to see someone who says “put aside your petty differences, you should be allies!” as someone who’s being dismissive of feminist issues and thinks atheism is obviously more important.

    He was rather callous and arrogant and bullying (in a sort of polite English way). So did that cross the line? I’d be hesitant to say that he did.

    How much callous, arrogant bullying are we expected to swallow in order to get the work of atheism done? What does it say about atheism if the movement excuses bullying as long as those bullies have written best-selling books? Does it say that we are better than the religions we criticize? Does it help dispel the generally negative opinion of atheists in our culture? At what point does excusing bad behavior for the sake of the cause start hurting the cause itself?

    I’m somewhat impressed by the display of irrationality here. Don’t presume to lecture me and don’t fucking patronize me.

    Oh, Ms. Kettle, I didn’t know you’d come in! Have you met Mr. Pot?

    I’ve fucking marched in anti-racist demonstrations, and stared down cops that were only looking for an excuse to taze me or mace me or exercise some other form of brutality.

    Cool story. It’s also an excellent demonstration of an important point: saying or doing good things in the past does not give you a pass to say or do bad things in the future. Doing good work on one subject does not mean that you are incapable of making mistakes on that or other subjects. Marching in anti-racist demonstrations and staring down cops doesn’t mean you don’t have privilege, doesn’t make you an expert on all aspects of bigotry, and obviously doesn’t make you incapable of saying clueless things, being dismissive of real issues, and perpetuating toxic stereotypes.

    Your extremely dismissive attitude simply conveys a level of arrogance that is difficult for me to comprehend.

    Mr. Pot, my word! I can’t believe you would say something so gauche!

  145. screechymonkey says

    My, that’s quite the rebuttal.

    You’re awfully quick to lecture others on how to behave, but you have nothing but whining to offer when someone shines the light on your own conduct.

  146. Reality_based_community says

    SM

    My, that’s quite the rebuttal.

    You’re awfully quick to lecture others on how to behave, but you have nothing but whining to offer when someone shines the light on your own conduct.

    There are obviously some people who get off on pissing contests and who are just looking for another pointless fight on the intertubes. It’s really so unnecessary and so much a waste of time and energy. I was a little irked at S. Strange, because her command that I “fuck off” didn’t appear to me to be provoked by anything I posted. I find no logical relationship to my recent posts about Dawkins or JG and her outrageous response that seemed to claim that I support racists or misogynists etc . Those sorts of comments are not helpful to any cause I’d wish to be a part of.

  147. Jack Stone says

    John Morales @96

    Just as physical interactions are explained by physics and biological interactions by biology, so are social interactions explained by psychology and sociology. It is there you should seek your answer.

    I think the point I was trying to make applies across disciplines. That within complex systems there can be simple relationships. Say the fact that one allele is favored over another. That happens within the context of a complex biological system. But it is a one dimensional aspect of it.

    So with that aspect of A+ you have no beef, for the reason you stated.
    It follows that it’s not dogma per se which you find remarkably objectionable, but rather you perception that its adherents hold it to be of paramount importance.
    Right?

    I wouldn’t say no beef. When I originally learned of humanism I was disappointed to find the values asserted without reference to any works support them. I guess I see dogma as a weapon. Its danger depends on the way it is used.

    Tom Foss @99

    Then why bring up those complaints in the context of the knitting analogy?

    You asked me in the context of the excessive attacks against A+ supporters. Funny though that I have not seen for myself any of these attacks. They are referenced as “fairly representative” while they may be cherry picked as far as I know. It’s like The Amazing Atheist digging up a fringe feminist who actually hates men and acting as if she is representative. Concerns of abuse by Anti-A+ers are not invalid, but it does nothing to support your attempts at pigeonholing.

    So atheism is a dogma then too.

    Because atheists are not deserving of abuse? Where did I argue that as relating to A+’s dogma?

    Isn’t [Anti-A+ an entity]? Jaclyn Glenn is certainly a non-A+ atheist. The people at r/againstatheismplus and the Slyme Pit are certainly non-A+ atheists. They congregate, they exert social pressure to accept certain conclusions, sounds like they fit your definition of dogmatism.

    Certain elements may be entities and they may or may not be dogmatic, but they don’t represent everyone who opposes A+. It completely eludes you how you were pigeonholing me?

    This is certainly true, and I’ve already mentioned that there are legitimate critiques of Atheism+. What delegitimizes your critiques is that they are based on myths and misinformation, and that your definition of “dogma” is so broad as to cut against your own points.

    Actually any weaker definition of dogma becomes arbitrary. I hate to pull out the dictionary, but this is exactly what I have been arguing and tell me how this doesn’t apply:

    a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.

    The principles stated on the Atheism+ page are the basic principles that led people to develop Atheism+ as a label and identity to begin with. The people who started the forum, commented on Jen’s original post, and so forth already generally agreed with those principles.
    I don’t understand what you mean by “socially binding.” Binding on whom? Who enforces the bonds? Atheism+ forums and groups are mostly set up as safe spaces where participants might generally be assumed to share those values (just as, say, skeptic forums and groups are mostly set up as safe spaces where participants might generally be assumed to share skeptical values), but even the main Atheism+ forum has a 101-level board.

    Binding to all based on an objective standard. My guess would be that some A+ers are moral relativists and some believe morality to be objective.

    Please provide citations for these insults and goals.

    The goals are the success of the principles. I’ve seen many insults. There are more in the comments section I’ll link to than I can count. But I see 9 posts with insults of the final 16 in the comments section. There are many more insults earlier, but excuse me if I don’t want to read the whole thing again.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/07/18/dont-be-this-atheist/

    Whatever you’re trying to say there was ineffectively communicated.

    Antifeminists claim to support equality. Feminists claim that their actions effectively support sexism. If you agree with that you might get what I mean when I say that the A+ FAQ says one thing, but it doesn’t represent how A+ is actually practiced.

    What am I supposed to be pigeonholing you as? Someone who “peddl[es] ludicrous counterfactual myths as passed through a game of Internet telephone, which could be corrected easily by going to the primary sources or the FAQ page”? That’s not pigeonholing, Jack. That’s an accurate description of your content.

    You mention that accusation in context of ranting about the excessive abuse of A+ers and generalizing about people who hate A+.
    I peddle myths by quoting Richard Carrier? If you also claim that the insults I link to are not actually A+ then it will be even more clear that you’re using no true Scotsman. You have yet to refute a point I’ve made.

    Perhaps you do not understand what “evidence” means. It does not mean “another generalized assertion without any quotations, links, or other means of substantiating that it describes something which actually exists.”
    And, again, take a look at what the anti-A+ people are offering, and see if that doesn’t (better) match the descriptor “intimidation and accusations.”

    You’re free to look through link I posted. Meanwhile your post that was posted on this blog does not engage in intimidation? How dare you take the wrong side! Reactionary!

    No, on this issue, I only see one side engaging in intimidation, and it’s not the Atheism+ folks.

    A+ must appear so beautiful with your rose colored glasses.

    This is incoherent. Anyone can judge whomever they like, for whatever reason

    Someone is also free to “disprove” evolution. Sure we might not think they make any sense, but they think they do. We may have an opinion about the evidence for evolution, but so do they. It’s good we feel very strongly that they would better to agree with us.

    Dave W @101

    Your assertions are contradictory. By choosing who to associate with, you have to judge them.
    I choose not to associate with racists because I judge them to be nasty people I’d prefer to avoid, for example.
    People who openly state that they are opposed to the atheism+ concept are telling me that they are opposed to atheism and/or social justice. I am free to judge them on that basis.

    When you decide who to associate with it’s usually because everyone else is racist or opposes social justice?

    Besides which, who is the arbiter of whether or not I’ve “earned” the right to judge someone. It must either be me or the person I might want to judge since there may be nobody else involved. If the former, of course I’m going to say I’ve earned it. If the latter, of course they’re going to say I haven’t. So your second assertion makes no practical sense to begin with.

    A racist would certainly hold a different view if they were born to a different ‘race’. So their view is arbitrary to any source of validity. Also they claim to know things about large groups of people for demonstrably bad reasons, so their claims have no basis.
    If any judgment is for good reasons it can be contingent on truths and realities that can’t be resolved for the other side. Otherwise our opinions would be randomly related to our experiences.

  148. Reality_based_community says

    But I do have to amend the comment re a “deficit of getting it together.” With Ophelia’s and Dawkins’ recent detente, I do have hope that the deficit has been significantly reduced. Good on both of them.

  149. John Morales says

    [OT]

    Jack Stone @161:

    I wouldn’t say no beef. When I originally learned of humanism I was disappointed to find the values asserted without reference to any works support them. I guess I see dogma as a weapon. Its danger depends on the way it is used.

    Do you also consider the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be dogma, and those who advocate for it to be dogmatists?

    To Tom in the same comment:

    Actually any weaker definition of dogma becomes arbitrary. I hate to pull out the dictionary, but this is exactly what I have been arguing and tell me how this doesn’t apply:

    a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.

    Actually, the term is polysemous and senses range from a philosophical tenet to an authoritative pronouncement*.

    In passing, you seem to imagine anyone who adopts beliefs set down as dogma is perforce dogmatic, but in its ordinary sense one can reasonably be said to be dogmatic only if one accepts (or sustains) a belief on the basis of that belief being authoritative, rather than on the basis of it being warranted (or desirable, in relation to ethics).

    * And it need not be pejorative, e.g. The central dogma of molecular biology.

  150. Reality_based_community says

    Tom

    What I rarely, if ever, do is say “I don’t have enough time to respond to this properly, so here’s a shitty response,” or worse “my time is very valuable, so I’m not going to bother to do any due diligence in engaging in this argument.”

    Tom, whether my response was shitty is, I suppose, a matter of opinion. I really didn’t have enough time to address each of your points individually. So I addressed 2 of them (or perhaps one and a half). Not a dodge. My daughter had to be fed and shuttled of to horse school. Sorry if you think I failed to devote the attention to your comments that you think they deserve, but honestly I did take them seriously.

    His attitudes toward women were the factor that he said motivated his actions.

    I don’t dispute this. He obviously had a deep hatred of women. I’m not so sure that is a counterfactual to the proposition the he was mad. In fact, it my very well be confirmation.

    I really do recommend watching Cristina Rad’s rebuttal, since she demonstrates, with evidence from Rodger’s own manifesto, that he was capable of distinguishing reality from fantasy. But yes, he almost certainly had other issues.

    OK, I’ll have a look. Sounds interesting.

    No, sorry, you’re wrong. Equating “mental illness” and “insanity” is very much ableist. Most mentally ill people are still quite sane, and Elliot Rodger was clearly not insane,

    I find it particularly odd that you would suggest this after the immediately prior sentence chastising me and JG for trying to make a diagnosis, as laypeople, based just on what is know from the public record. How do you know that he “clearly was not insane.” That’s not so clear me.

    It [mental illness] may have [played a role in the murders]. Without a diagnosis, you have no evidence to suggest that it was. In fact, all the evidence shows that he was a narcissistic misogynist who coldly calculated a killing spree that would result in the deaths of women who wronged him, and that would prevent the police from stopping him before he could rack up a body count. Saying “it’s obvious that he’s mentally ill because only a mentally ill person would do that” is circular logic.

    I suspect you aren’t in possession of any evidence that is not publicly available. So I fail to understand how you can uncategorically state that he was a simply narcissist (which again, would make you equally guilty of diagnosing a mental illness. Perhaps more so, since you are pinpointing a specific illness; namely narcissism.) Also, I didn’t say that “only a mentally ill person would do that.” I said I believe he was likely suffering from mental health issues, I believe, based on publicly available information. True, I’m not one of them thar big city doctors…it’s just my impression.

    There’s that circular reasoning again. How do you know that the shooters in Aurora and the Gabby Giffords case were “mentally unstable or delusional”?

    Well, because both shooters were under the care of a mental health professionals and actually were diagnosed with a serious mental illness. James Holmes, the shooter in the Colorado case, has recently had an insanity defense accepted, so that may constitute some evidence. The Gabby Giffords shooter was also under mental health care, and behaved so erratically that his friends immediately thought of him when the news first broke. So…I don’t think this is a case of “circular reasoning.” But I will make the case that when people massacre innocents for no apparent reason that the act in itself is at least some evidence that might indicate mental problems. At least it should be considered?

    More later…hope this isn’t a “shitty” response to the points I did respond to. I’ll get to the other points later.

    Peace brother.

  151. says

    Jack Stone @162:

    When you decide who to associate with it’s usually because everyone else is racist or opposes social justice?

    Who said “usually?” I offered a couple of examples pertinent to this thread to perhaps help you understand that the right to associate with whom you wish is identical to the right to judge others..

    A racist would certainly hold a different view if they were born to a different ‘race’. So their view is arbitrary to any source of validity. Also they claim to know things about large groups of people for demonstrably bad reasons, so their claims have no basis.

    Ditto the anti-feminists.

    If any judgment is for good reasons it can be contingent on truths and realities that can’t be resolved for the other side. Otherwise our opinions would be randomly related to our experiences.

    And…? How does this relate to the question of whether or not I have “earned” the right to judge someone? There certainly is no objective measure for that.

  152. Reality_based_community says

    Follow-up. I do believe minimizing the role of mental illness in mass shooting events does little to serve the mentally ill, and certainly little to serve the victims of such events. Denial doesn’t help either group. This is worth a read, even if it is just Time Magazine. http://time.com/114354/elliot-rodger-ucsb-misogyny/

  153. Reality_based_community says

    chigau

    Well, at least they learned to blockquote.

    Thanks cigau! I’m proud of it myself, and now actually like it. Though, and not to be pedantic, but I’m not a “they.”

  154. John Morales says

    [meta + OT]

    Though, and not to be pedantic, but I’m not a “they.”

    Actually (to be pedantic) you are: it’s an accepted form of grammar denoted the Singular they.

    (Have you any reason to think you’re more erudite than chigau?)

  155. Reality_based_community says

    John, please put it away and zip up your pants. It’s just unseemly at this point. I don’t know if chigau was attempting some form of condescension or not, but it isn’t proper grammar to use the term “they” when the individual in question is readily identifiable. Would you not find it strange if, let’s call him Bill, a person known to me and who is right in front of me, left his umbrella on a bus seat. And I said “Hey, they left their umbrella!” There is so much of this thread that involves people attempting to play games, to be demeaning, to conspicuously display some sort of intellectual prowess…it’s getting rather tiresome. I’m just trying to have a conversation, but continually receive all sorts of childish sniping about nothing in particular. What, honestly, is the point of all that?

  156. John Morales says

    [OT]

    RBC @171, your appeal is duly noted, but it is not I who is emotionally exercised, nor is my zipper undone.

    You attempted to correct chigau, I noted that your correction lacked merit and intimated a plausible motive for it.

    (Though on the question of whether to be or not to be, it is clear where we each stand.)

    There is so much of this thread that involves people attempting to play games, to be demeaning, to conspicuously display some sort of intellectual prowess…

    Yes… attempting. Not you, though.

    (Kudos?)

  157. Tessa says

    Reality_Based_Community:

    John, please put it away and zip up your pants. It’s just unseemly at this point. I don’t know if chigau was attempting some form of condescension or not, but it isn’t proper grammar to use the term “they” when the individual in question is readily identifiable. Would you not find it strange if, let’s call him Bill, a person known to me and who is right in front of me, left his umbrella on a bus seat. And I said “Hey, they left their umbrella!” There is so much of this thread that involves people attempting to play games, to be demeaning, to conspicuously display some sort of intellectual prowess…it’s getting rather tiresome. I’m just trying to have a conversation, but continually receive all sorts of childish sniping about nothing in particular. What, honestly, is the point of all that?

    The point, R_B_C is that we don’t know if you are a man, a woman, or don’t adhere to the gender binary. Chigau was avoiding using a gender specific pronoun. And singular they is a commonly accepted one when your preferred pronoun is unknown.

  158. Reality_based_community says

    Tessa –

    The point, R_B_C is that we don’t know if you are a man, a woman, or don’t adhere to the gender binary. Chigau was avoiding using a gender specific pronoun. And singular they is a commonly accepted one when your preferred pronoun is unknown.

    If that’s the case, then fair enough. Though taken in the context of the quote, it still seems rather dismissive, as in “they” have nothing of value or worth to say, but at least “they” have learned to use block quotes. But I have to ask myself…why are we (including me) even talking about this?

  159. Tessa says

    Reality Based Community:

    If that’s the case, then fair enough. Though taken in the context of the quote, it still seems rather dismissive, as in “they” have nothing of value or worth to say, but at least “they” have learned to use block quotes. But I have to ask myself…why are we (including me) even talking about this?

    Well, if you’re looking for something to talk about, you can respond to my #138.

  160. Reality_based_community says

    ok wait here while I review. *clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp* *time passes*

    ok, got it. Your primary argument seems to be that there is a lack of specifics in JG’s videos and my own comments re attacks stemming from some slight deviation from dogma. I said I have experienced it countless times, and the video seemed to say as much. I don’t know about JG, but I can note some very recent examples. I was accused of being racist and misogynist on this very thread. Why? I’m not really sure. The comment in question followed what I thought was a fairly reasonable post about JG and another about Richard Dawkins. It appeared to me to have been prompted from the fact that I didn’t consign either of those individuals to an enemies list. Is that a fair interpretation of what happened?

  161. John Morales says

    RBC @176,

    I was accused of being racist and misogynist on this very thread.

    Citation, please.

  162. Reality_based_community says

    John, here is the quote in question. One might infer that it doesn’t directly accuse me of racism, but I think it’s rather implied. I wont name the individual who posted it, because I think that is usually not helpful in these instances. Did I interpret it incorrectly?

    Do you want feminists and anti-racists and advocates for the mentally ill and gay rights activists as allies in the fight against religious privilege, r_b_c?

    If so, you need to do better. I’m confident you can, based on the level of sophistry you’ve displayed here, which, though nearly content-free, is impressive in its labyrinthine character.

    If not, feel free to fuck off any time.

  163. screechymonkey says

    RBC @176:

    I was accused of being racist and misogynist on this very thread. Why? I’m not really sure. The comment in question followed what I thought was a fairly reasonable post about JG and another about Richard Dawkins. It appeared to me to have been prompted from the fact that I didn’t consign either of those individuals to an enemies list. It appeared to me to have been prompted from the fact that I didn’t consign either of those individuals to an enemies list. Is that a fair interpretation of what happened?

    No, it isn’t.

    You’ve implied from your first comment, and several times after, that you’ve been reading Pharyngula for some time. If that’s true, then you would know that PZ Myers hasn’t put Dawkins on any “enemies list,” and has continued to defend him as a good science communicator and useful ally (with some blind spots and problems). Some of the Pharyngulite Horde disagree with PZ on that, but nobody’s called PZ a racist or misogynist for failing to sufficiently condemn Dawkins. So your hypothesis seems rather dubious.

    More to the point, I don’t recall you being called a racist or misogynist. Perhaps you were, but you’ll have to point to a specific post because at this point I just don’t trust you to be fair and honest, and I expect what we’ll find is that somebody said something negative that you’ve blown up to be an accusation of such.

    My suspicion is that you’re not a racist or misogynist, and you truly in your heart of hearts are opposed to such behavior. But in practice, you always seem to find a way to rationalize how this (whatever the “this” in question is) isn’t really racism or misogyny. I’m sure you’ll say that many of us are seeing racism and misogyny everywhere, whether it exists or not. And I’d be willing to chalk that up to different … sensitivities, for lack of a better term, and “agree to disagree,” but the problem is that right from the get-go you were sneeringly dismissive of the concerns of the regulars here. Again, look at your first post. It’s all about “ego,” etc.

    If you had come in here and said that “hey, I think misogyny is a serious problem and you’re all right to be concerned about it, but I think Jaclyn Glenn has got a more accurate perspective on it….” that might have led to a discussion whose tone you would have preferred. But instead, you belittled everyone’s concerns as “ego,” “petty squabbling,” and “inconsequential bullshit.” People — quite reasonably, in my opinion — drew the conclusion that you’re one of those folks who thinks that our differences regarding gender equality is some minor little fringe issue that shouldn’t distract us from the hugely important issue of repeating that we don’t believe in god.

    Basically, you got off to a bad start, giving us a good impersonation — perhaps unintentionally — of the garden variety Dictionary Atheist Asshole who we’ve been dealing with ad nauseum around here. If you would just own up to that, it might go a long way. I, for one, would be willing to have a “fresh start” with you if you would acknowledge that aren’t just some innocent victim here, that you came looking for a fight and got one.

  164. screechymonkey says

    RBC @178,

    Oh for fuck’s sakes. First, Sally Strange was asking you a question, not making an accusation.

    Second, the question was do you want feminists, etc. as allies. Even if the answer is no, that doesn’t necessarily make you a racist or misogynist. That, sadly, is one of the problems — there’s no shortage of people who aren’t hateful themselves, but are willing to put up with hateful shitty behavior because… (it’s much more important to stick it to the creationists! And Racist Uncle Bob and Sexist Asshole Joe are really a lot of fun to hang out with!)

  165. says

    @Jack Stone:

    You asked me in the context of the excessive attacks against A+ supporters. Funny though that I have not seen for myself any of these attacks.

    Then you haven’t been paying attention. Fuck, there’s two posts on this blog more recent than this one featuring such attacks, albeit tame ones. I linked to the AgainstAtheismPlus Reddit, which is chock full of it. Not to mention the Slyme Pit, the records on the Block Bot, various Storifies, roundup posts here and at Almost Diamonds, Greta Christina’s, and elsewhere. It’s not hard to find.

    You can think it’s cherry-picked all you like. That’s fine. I’d like to see a similar volume of material with the same tone cherry-picked from Atheism+ people.

    By the way, that “Funny though that I have not seen for myself any of these attacks,” implying that they are either rare or do not exist? That’s what we call an argument from ignorance. I guess skepticism and logic aren’t part of that “shared philosophy” that separates atheists from dogmatists.

    Concerns of abuse by Anti-A+ers are not invalid, but it does nothing to support your attempts at pigeonholing.

    You keep using that word without actually explaining what you mean by it. How have you been “pigeonholed”?

    Because atheists are not deserving of abuse? Where did I argue that as relating to A+’s dogma?

    You listed a number of features in your response to the knitting analogy–that A+ is framed as progress, reacting to the consequences of being involved in atheism, that atheism outside of A+ is not truly atheism, and that those who oppose A+ support the degradation of atheism. You listed these things in response, as you said, to the excessive attacks against A+, and then went on to say that A+ shares specific commonalities with dogma.

    So what was your purpose in listing those grievances against A+? Based on context, it seems you either intended them to be a defense against or justification for the abuse A+ has received, or as evidence to support that A+ is dogmatic. Since you specifically said that you did not intend to justify the attacks (#95), the latter would seem to be the case. You also said it “would be the same” for Christians offering the same kind of “criticism” to atheists in general, since atheists make many of the same claims that you find objectionable in A+.

    So was your list of grievances intended as evidence that Atheism+ is dogmatic, or was it a complete non sequitur? If the former, then saying that it would be the same for atheism in general, it follows that you also think atheism is dogmatic, per your ridiculously broad definition of dogma.

    Certain elements may be entities and they may or may not be dogmatic, but they don’t represent everyone who opposes A+. It completely eludes you how you were pigeonholing me?

    I have already not only agreed with the former, but provided links in support of it. I’ve also gone back and reread all of my posts to you, and I don’t see what you’re talking about. There have been two instances where I have described your behavior in this thread. That’s not pigeonholing under any definition.

    a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.

    Great. Let’s accept, on face value, that this is the definition of dogma. Some problems immediately surface:
    1. This definition is significantly different from your original definition of dogma, “considerably more social pressure to agree with its tenets than reason to support those beliefs as derived from a common philosophy.” In fact, given that philosophy is a system of principles (and that nearly all philosophical systems include axioms that are considered incontrovertibly true), this definition would suggest that both your examples of dogma and not-dogma are, in fact, dogma.

    2. No “authority” laid down the set of principles represented by Atheism+. In fact, they were arrived at by general consensus, determined by people who already accepted those principles for various reasons.

    3. The principles of Atheism+ are not considered “incontrovertibly true.” How can they be? They aren’t statements of fact, they aren’t prescriptive. They’re descriptions of common values. What does it mean to say that “We are… Atheists plus we care about social justice” is “incontrovertibly true”? It’s not like it’s beyond investigation.

    4. Under this definition, isn’t every nation, state, municipality, and club with a constitution also a dogma?

    What’s nice, though, is that this is a textbook example of cherry-picking. You pulled the definition from Wikipedia, which goes on to say:

    It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system’s paradigm, or the ideology itself. The term can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, religion, or issued decisions of political authorities.

    Emphasis mine. So, under this broad definition, not only is Atheism+ a dogma, but so is atheism (if, indeed, you think it is “the result of beliefs derived from a common philosophy”), and so are laws.

    Do you think laws are dogmatic, Jack? If so, what does it mean to use the word “dogma”? You’ve been using it all along as though it were pejorative, as it usually is in atheist/skeptic circles, but your definition is so broad that it hardly seems like calling something “dogmatic” is a criticism of the thing, when so many good and necessary things are, by this definition, dogma.

    In this case, it seems like the Dictionary may be of more use:

    dogma

    1. an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behavior, etc., as of a church. Synonyms: doctrine, teachings, set of beliefs, philosophy.

    2. a specific tenet or doctrine authoritatively laid down, as by a church: the dogma of the Assumption; the recently defined dogma of papal infallibility. Synonyms: tenet, canon, law.

    3. prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group: the difficulty of resisting political dogma.

    4. a settled or established opinion, belief, or principle: the classic dogma of objectivity in scientific observation. Synonyms: conviction, certainty.

    In this case, the basic common principles around which Atheism+ organized might constitute dogma in the first definition. The American Declaration of Independence would also qualify. It does not really qualify under the second definition, since it was not “authoritatively laid down,” but arose organically from democratic processes, and principles are still debated. Your definition matches most closely with the third one, which is the one with the pejorative connotation in atheist/skeptic circles. It is also the one that most clearly does not apply to the principles of Atheism+, since again, they are descriptive rather than prescriptive and it is meaningless to say they are “unquestionably true.” The fourth applies, certainly. For most people in Atheism+, things like opposing racism are settled beliefs. But the fourth also seems to apply to any belief that is generally held to be true.

    Binding to all based on an objective standard.

    This doesn’t address the question. Who is “all”? What is the “objective standard”? Who enforces the bonds?

    My guess would be that some A+ers are moral relativists and some believe morality to be objective.

    Okay? Yes, there are probably both moral relativists and people who believe morality to be objective among Atheism+. And?

    The goals are the success of the principles.

    Oh dear, they wish to succeed in supporting women’s rights and opposing racism. The horror.

    So your evidence of Atheism+ being insulting is to cite a forum where some, but not all, people identify with Atheism+, and where they are responding to a video that specifically calls Atheism+ “pussies.” Where did that kettle go again?

    Ah, I see. It’s personal. They hurt your feelings, you poor dear. And all you did was call Atheism+ and the commenters pretentious, intimidating, entitled, and authoritarian, while also tone-trolling and spreading the usual myth about Atheism+ being a mandatory power grab that claims social justice values necessarily spring from atheism, and that feminism would be better if it were just equalism or somesuch.

    Yes, you were treated harshly. You were called names, some of which could not be said on daytime television. One thing you’ll find, especially on Pharyngula, is that they don’t have a problem with so-called naughty words, but they do have a problem with bad attitudes and bad conduct. Attitudes like arrogance and condescension, conduct like spreading easily-corrected, oft-debunked myths, refusing to do the due diligence when informed that they are incorrect, and asking loaded questions based on false premises. Such attitudes and conduct are profoundly disrespectful, and you received disrespect in kind.

    Note, however, that you were not the subject of gendered or bigoted insults. You were not followed around on social media by anonymous accounts spamming you with abuse. You were not photoshopped into porn pictures or caricatured as a pig or sex doll. You got called a fuckwit, and that’s not nice, but it’s also not what you’d get if you were posting pro-feminist or pro-A+ material on atheism/skepticism boards.

    Once again, if you have a problem with insults, you are complaining to the wrong department.

    Antifeminists claim to support equality. Feminists claim that their actions effectively support sexism. If you agree with that you might get what I mean when I say that the A+ FAQ says one thing, but it doesn’t represent how A+ is actually practiced.

    You accept that people can say one thing and practice another, but accept at face value the claims of antifeminists support equality?

    Feminists recognize that society as it is currently constructed results in unfair treatment of women, and seek achieve equality by correcting that. Antifeminists claim to support equality, and in many cases allege that since women are equal under the law, then equality has been achieved. Which side is correct depends on whether you think the letter of the law–and not its enforcement or more general social mores–is the sole determining factor of equality.

    I peddle myths by quoting Richard Carrier?

    No, you peddle myths more generally (Atheism+ is a power grab, Atheism+ claims social justice follows necessarily from dictionary atheism, Atheism+ is meant to be mandatory for all atheists, etc.). But citing Richard Carrier is a part of it. While he claimed to speak for Atheism+, the actual group who was involved in forming Atheism+ disagreed vehemently.

    If I quoted Rael as a spokesperson for atheism, claiming that atheists generally believed in alien-driven Intelligent Design, would that be fair and accurate to atheists?

    You have yet to refute a point I’ve made.

    Whatever dude.

    A+ must appear so beautiful with your rose colored glasses.

    Says the guy who assumes one visit to one comment thread is representative, but multiple links to multiple aggregation posts are cherry-picking. Keep that motivated reasoning train a-rollin’!

  166. Reality_based_community says

    Sm @176

    But in practice, you always seem to find a way to rationalize how this (whatever the “this” in question is) isn’t really racism or misogyny. I’m sure you’ll say that many of us are seeing racism and misogyny everywhere, whether it exists or not. And I’d be willing to chalk that up to different … sensitivities, for lack of a better term, and “agree to disagree,” but the problem is that right from the get-go you were sneeringly dismissive of the concerns of the regulars here. Again, look at your first post. It’s all about “ego,” etc.

    That I “rationalize” “this (whatever this is)”….Simply not true. Nobody can have lived in this nation and fail to realize the pervasiveness of racism or misogyny. That’s simply a completely unfounded accusation. Racism resides in Jim Crow laws (now making a comeback in a place near you), voter disenfranchisement, the police state that specifically targets racial minorities, in structural poverty, and pretty much everywhere one looks. Except…I don’t find it in JG’s videos. Or in Richard Dawkin’s works.

    Re. my comments about ego…sorry, that still seems to be the case. It’s part of the human condition, and is something we should all strive to overcome. And I’m talking about what appears to me to be unnecessary conflicts driven, by all evidence, personalities. OB has taught us all a valuable lesson that those sorts of things can be overcome. I can’t extend enough kudos to her.

  167. John Morales says

    RBC @178:

    Did I interpret it incorrectly?

    Do you want feminists and anti-racists and advocates for the mentally ill and gay rights activists as allies in the fight against religious privilege, r_b_c?
    If so, you need to do better. I’m confident you can, based on the level of sophistry you’ve displayed here, which, though nearly content-free, is impressive in its labyrinthine character.
    If not, feel free to fuck off any time.

    A link to the comment (or even its mere enumeration) would have sufficed, but here’s my paraphrase: If you want feminists and anti-racists and advocates for the mentally ill and gay rights activists as allies in the fight against religious privilege, you need to do better than you are doing now, else you don’t belong with them because you won’t be accepted.

    Note the conditional, as well as the term “allies”.

    I think it’s very disputable that is tantamount to an accusation of “being racist and misogynist”..

    Seems to me more like a statement of what it would take to be an ally to feminists and anti-racists and advocates for the mentally ill and gay rights activists and that you don’t qualify at present.

    Seriously, you really think being accused of behaving in such a way that you aren’t considered suitable as an ally to some grouping an accusation ascribing to you the actions (or attitudes) those groups fight.

  168. Reality_based_community says

    JM @182

    Seriously, you really think being accused of behaving in such a way that you aren’t considered suitable as an ally to some grouping an accusation ascribing to you the actions (or attitudes) those groups fight.

    Well, umm….yes I do. Not to obscure any nuance that may have been intended here, but isn’t saying somebody isn’t sufficiently anti-racist very close to saying they are actually racist?

  169. John Morales says

    RBC @183:

    Not to obscure any nuance that may have been intended here, but isn’t saying somebody isn’t sufficiently anti-racist very close to saying they are actually racist?

    Not only are you not obscuring nuance, but what is more, you’re seeing it where it doesn’t exist.

    Again: the statement is saying you will not be accepted as an ally to feminists and anti-racists and advocates for the mentally ill and gay rights activists (though you may proclaim yourself one such) if you don’t think they belong within the atheist movement.

    (It’s not saying that you are homophobic, either)

  170. Tessa says

    ok wait here while I review. *clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp* *time passes*

    ok, got it. Your primary argument seems to be that there is a lack of specifics in JG’s videos and my own comments re attacks stemming from some slight deviation from dogma. I said I have experienced it countless times, and the video seemed to say as much. I don’t know about JG, but I can note some very recent examples. I was accused of being racist and misogynist on this very thread. Why? I’m not really sure.

    Nobody called you a misogynist. It’s itneresting…
    Sally Strange said:

    Do you want feminists and anti-racists and advocates for the mentally ill and gay rights activists as allies in the fight against religious privilege, r_b_c?

    If so, you need to do better.

    The question was do you want feminists and anti-racists and advocates for the mentally ill and gay rights activists as allies in the fight against religious privilege? that in no way says you aren’t any of those things, or even all of those things. It’s asking if you want those groups as allies in the fight against religious privilege, because not all the people in the fight against religious privilege are feminists, anti-racists, advocates for the mentally ill and gay rights activists. And how much misogynistic, anti-feminist, racist, ablist, and homophobic behavior do you tolerate within the atheist community as a whole.

    This is a response to

    “She asks at what point does a potential ally “cross the line?” I agree that people need to define a line that can’t be transgressed. My only comment would be that such lines shouldn’t be defined too narrowly.”

    As in we can’t have too little tolerance for that kind of behavior. Again. You say this without being specific.

    how narrow is too narrow?

    Then, later you characterized it as an “outrageous response that seemed to claim that I support racists or misogynists etc” and now “accused of being racist and misogynist”

    Interesting how you seem to be blowing a difference out of proportion. And see? I give a very precise example.

    The comment in question followed what I thought was a fairly reasonable post about JG and another about Richard Dawkins. It appeared to me to have been prompted from the fact that I didn’t consign either of those individuals to an enemies list. Is that a fair interpretation of what happened?

    Actually, as I said it seemed to follow your implications about tossing out allies by drawing a line of tolerance too narrowly.

  171. Tessa says

    Hrm… that “how narrow is too narrow?” should be bolded instead of blockquoted. Blah me.

  172. Reality_based_community says

    John

    Again: the statement is saying you will not be accepted as an ally to feminists and anti-racists and advocates for the mentally ill and gay rights activists (though you may proclaim yourself one such) if you don’t think they belong within the atheist movement.

    I can’t even imagine how you have come to the belief that I believe that such groups don’t belong in the atheist movement. I myself am a card carrying member of some of those groups.

  173. Reality_based_community says

    Tessa –

    The question was do you want feminists and anti-racists and advocates for the mentally ill and gay rights activists as allies in the fight against religious privilege? that in no way says you aren’t any of those things, or even all of those things. It’s asking if you want those groups as allies in the fight against religious privilege, because not all the people in the fight against religious privilege are feminists, anti-racists, advocates for the mentally ill and gay rights activists. And how much misogynistic, anti-feminist, racist, ablist, and homophobic behavior do you tolerate within the atheist community as a whole.

    Perhaps I misinterpreted the comment in question. If so, the “fuck of” line and the “engaging in sophistry” line and “do a better job” line may have thrown me off a bit. And how much of the behaviors you describe do we tolerate in the atheist community? I’d say none. And not just in the atheist community, but in any setting.

  174. John Morales says

    RBC @187, it’s not my belief, it’s what the claim is; perhaps consider that objecting to the objections to the video on what more and more are shown to be spurious grounds is not a good way of demonstrating support for feminism within the atheist movement to certain parties.

    (There’s a proverb about the guilty fleeing…)

  175. Reality_based_community says

    John

    RBC @187, it’s not my belief, it’s what the claim is; perhaps consider that objecting to the objections to the video on what more and more are shown to be spurious grounds is not a good way of demonstrating support for feminism within the atheist movement to certain parties.

    John, I’m sorry. I am unable to decipher this. Have you been drinking? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s a vice I myself encourage.

  176. John Morales says

    RBC @190, I here keep it (hopefully) suitably simple: “the statement is saying [X]” indicates that the statement is saying X, not that X is my personal belief. So you don’t need to imagine how I came to believe X.

    It is unfortunate that deciphering my suggestion was beyond you, but I put it to you that “saying somebody isn’t sufficiently anti-racist very close to saying they are actually racist” is a pretty tenuous justification for the claim that what you quoted was being “accused of being racist and misogynist”, especially given that a person who would tell you to fuck off seems pretty likely to just come out and actually, you know, make an explicit claim that you did not require you to “infer”.

  177. Tessa says

    Reality_Based_Community 188.

    Perhaps I misinterpreted the comment in question. If so, the “fuck of” line and the “engaging in sophistry” line and “do a better job” line may have thrown me off a bit. And how much of the behaviors you describe do we tolerate in the atheist community? I’d say none. And not just in the atheist community, but in any setting.

    OK, now that we’re back on track, let’s jump back to 176:

    You:

    ok wait here while I review. *clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp* *time passes*

    ok, got it. Your primary argument seems to be that there is a lack of specifics in JG’s videos and my own comments re attacks stemming from some slight deviation from dogma. I said I have experienced it countless times, and the video seemed to say as much. I don’t know about JG, but I can note some very recent examples.

    Actually, that wasn’t my primary argument. It was that you (Reality_Based_Community) agreed with her video but can’t give examples of what she’s satirizing.

    In addition, you won’t clarify what you would consider a “narrow deviation” and what specific differences are inconsequential bullshit and having battle lines drawn over.

    The only time you gave a hint was back in #49:

    Among my progressive friends, I was attacked for opposing hate crime laws out of principle for the first amendment, even though we agreed about *everything* else.

    So, clearly you think opposing hate crime laws would be a narrow deviation, or inconsequential bullshit. Especially since you highlight how you agree on *everything* else. But someone who is a big proponent of hate crime laws considers it a substantive issue, and might not like you considering it, at least a minor variation, and at most inconsequential bullshit.

  178. Maureen Brian says

    Reality_based_community @ 187,

    I can’t even imagine how you have come to the belief that I believe that such groups don’t belong in the atheist movement. I myself am a card carrying member of some of those groups.

    So, if some of us with adequate knowledge of her work consider Jaclyn Glenn to be a spreader of disinformation about feminism and a sloppy thinker on mental illness – both known to have malign effects – should you not be at least cheering us from the sidelines?

    When you begin by setting up your opinion as some sort of gold standard and throw around words like inconsequential, then you do not feel like an ally. You only get to be an ally once you are accepted as one: it is not a position to which you can appoint yourself.

  179. says

    LOL, I got under R_b_c’s skin. I feel a whiff of trollishness about my own emotional state right now. “Ha ha, I upset you, that must mean I’m right!” But of course that’s a silly fallacy. Anyway…

    Did my mode of argumentation that treat your deviation from my narrow orthodoxy as high treason?

    Is that the problem here?

    My narrow orthodoxy says that if you want to have feminists (and all the rest as allies), you have to listen to their criticisms, take them on board, and not label differences of opinion on issues that we care about, but you don’t, as “inconsequential bullshit.” Do not, for instance, suggest that feminists are creating differences where none exist for suggesting that Jaclyn Glenn needs to 1.) actually know something about feminism besides the lies she’s been fed by MRAs before she launches criticisms of it and. 2.) disassociate herself from the blatantly, violently misogynist rape threatener Kinkaid, just as all movement atheists need to do (unless of course they like the idea of atheists being known for being white, male, and fucking bigoted as hell).

    If that’s too narrow for you, then fine. Like I said, feel free to fuck off. If you read that as an accusation of your own personal sexist bigotry, that is completely on you. I only asked a conditional question and proposed that IF you want social justice types to be part of the fight against religious privilege, THEN you need to do better at not being a dismissive jerk when communicating to us. Trust me, if I thought you were sexist and racist, I would have said so long ago and would probably not still be attempting to communicate with you.

    Geez! Why are men so sensitive, can anybody tell me? So emotional and overwrought, like R_b_c here.

  180. says

    See, R_b_c, your remark in #188 reads as a blatant contradiction of everything you’ve been saying so far:

    And how much misogynistic, anti-feminist, racist, ablist, and homophobic behavior do you tolerate within the atheist community as a whole.

    …And how much of the behaviors you describe do we tolerate in the atheist community? I’d say none. And not just in the atheist community, but in any setting.

    Why, then, object to people objecting to Jaclynn Glenn spreading anti-feminist lies about feminism? Why label the attempts to get her to realize that her understanding of feminism is flawed and inaccurate and that her criticisms are therefore irrelevant and wrong as “inconsequential bullshit”? Why the dismissiveness towards the widespread distaste for her ableist willingness to diagnose mental illness over the internet and blame violence on mental illness without evidence? Why describe the attempts at encouraging people to NOT tolerate those behaviors as “magnifying differences” and “creating fissures where none seem to exist”?

    IF you agree that none of those behaviors are tolerable THEN your characterizations of the objections Glenn’s and Dawkins’ various problematic statements make zero sense. IF, on the other hand, you value presenting a unified front to outsiders over ensuring that there is zero tolerance for the behaviors you just described as intolerable (which, in practice, means getting feminists, advocates for the mentally ill, racists, and gay rights activists to STFU more often than not), THEN your condescending, dismissive chastisement of us, their critics, for creating differences where there are none, or magnifying differences when they are small, makes plenty of sense.

    Do you see what I’m getting at?

  181. Reality_based_community says

    Several comments and responses. I’ll not address the volumes of snark and ad homs, as I don’t really want to contribute to that at this time. But here is what seems to be a representative comment:

    So, if some of us with adequate knowledge of her work consider Jaclyn Glenn to be a spreader of disinformation about feminism and a sloppy thinker on mental illness – both known to have malign effects – should you not be at least cheering us from the sidelines?

    The point of contention here is, if I haven’t been clear enough, is that I don’t consider JG to be a spreader of disinformation. At best, some find JG’s humor somewhat quirky and amusing. At worst, by any reasonable standard, she’s harmless based on everything I have seen that she’s produced or written. She doesn’t seem to me to be motivated by any form of malice or ill-will, and strikes me as rather sincere. Perhaps she’s naive, but she’s obviously a relative newbie.

    I can certainly identify no rationale to support the assertion that she condones any kind of bigotry. At all. None whatsoever. Few people have identified anything in her videos with any specificity that they actually object to, aside from Tom, who actually did begin a substantive conversation. I responded that I thought his objections lacked merit (see the discussion above re the role of mental illness in various mass murders).

    So if nobody as of yet has been able to point to anything that JG has done that is improper, why would I join in efforts to demonize her? Or even “cheer from tnhe sidelines?”

    There seems to be a prevailing attitude on here of “either you’re with us or against us.” A kind of Sith or GW Bush mentality that fails to appreciate nuanced differences for what they are, or that tends to simply box such differences into convenient categories. There is no better example tha the comment on this thread, and I forget who made it, that “It’s not anything you directly said, I know your *kind*” (from memory, but I think that is a fair representation of what was said).

    In my experience, progress isn’t made via very narrowly defined groups, but rather shifting coalitions of folks who attempt to advance those items upon which they agree, even though they may have significant differences of opinion or contrary interests with respect to many other issues. OB asked when does somebody “cross the line” that they can no longer be considered an ally. Has JG crossed that line? Are the things you object to motivated by malice? Of naivete, lack of maturity (she is very young) or inexperience? (of course, as I said, I’ve found nothing objectionable of note). Should she be demonized? Did you really feel that she demonized this group? Or just that her video was “bad form?” I honestly don’t understand the level of vitriol directed at her on this thread, and as far as I can tell such vitriol hasn’t been reciprocated by JG.

    I also asked whether Dawkins “crossed the line” with respect to boorish behavior I described in an earlier post, thought that, thankfully, now appears to be a moot point.

  182. Al Dente says

    RBC @198

    I’ll not address the volumes of snark and ad homs, as I don’t really want to contribute to that at this time.

    Your tone trolling doesn’t impress us. Most of us here are more concerned with substance than tone. Your preference for tone over substance says more about you than about us.

    I can certainly identify no rationale to support the assertion that she condones any kind of bigotry.

    That’s because you’re refusing to acknowledge her support of bigotry. She associates herself with TJ Kincaid who is a misogynist and rape apologist. How is that not condoning bigotry?

  183. Tessa says

    SallyStrange #196:

    See, R_b_c, your remark in #188 reads as a blatant contradiction of everything you’ve been saying so far

    When he (he objected to singular they, so I’ll just be presumptuous and use “he”) gave that comment I realized his absolutist statement was him being so absolute it circles around to vague again. “Is X bad enough to be considered legitimate racism?” “I don’t really considered that sexism.” “If we draw the line too narrowly on what is ableist, we’ll lose allies.” And so forth. That’s my prediction at least.

  184. says

    @Reality_based_community:

    I find it particularly odd that you would suggest this after the immediately prior sentence chastising me and JG for trying to make a diagnosis, as laypeople, based just on what is know from the public record. How do you know that he “clearly was not insane.” That’s not so clear me.

    Because the legal definition of “insane” means “incapable of distinguishing right and wrong.” Rodger originally planned his massacre for Halloween, but changed it because there would be a larger police presence on Halloween, and he believed police officers would be the only ones who could stop him. That’s pretty unambiguous evidence that he understood that his plan was illegal.

    I suspect you aren’t in possession of any evidence that is not publicly available. So I fail to understand how you can uncategorically state that he was a simply narcissist (which again, would make you equally guilty of diagnosing a mental illness. Perhaps more so, since you are pinpointing a specific illness; namely narcissism.)

    1. There is a difference between calling someone narcissistic and diagnosing that they have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Rodger believed he was superior to full-Asian men, and had a suite of traits that meant he deserved to have what women gave to other, inferior men. If you’d prefer the term “self-absorbed, and egotistical,” feel free to substitute it.

    2. I didn’t say “uncategorically” that he was “simply a narcissist.” I’m saying that without specific evidence, evaluated by a qualified expert, you cannot reasonably conclude that he had a mental illness of any sort. If you cannot demonstrate that he had a mental illness, then you cannot reasonably conclude that mental illness was any kind of factor in his rampage. Things which cannot be demonstrated to exist cannot be determined to cause other things. We have evidence of what he thought of himself, what he thought of other men, and what he thought of women, and can generally, broadly determine personality traits from those things. We cannot, however, determine personality disorders without more evidence and more expertise.

    Also, I didn’t say that “only a mentally ill person would do that.” I said I believe he was likely suffering from mental health issues, I believe, based on publicly available information. True, I’m not one of them thar big city doctors…it’s just my impression.

    What specific evidence leads you to believe that he was “likely suffering from mental health issues.” What specific mental health issues do you think he was likely suffering from?

    The Gabby Giffords shooter was also under mental health care, and behaved so erratically that his friends immediately thought of him when the news first broke.

    Being under mental health care does not mean you have a mental illness, and more specifically, does not mean you have a mental illness that would make you more prone to commit violent acts.

    As it turns out, Loughner was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2011. Schizophrenics are more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators. The increased correlation between schizophrenia and commission of violent acts is due to drug abuse by schizophrenics. Loughner had apparently been abusing alcohol and drugs prior to his shooting.

    So it doesn’t make much sense to blame Loughner’s mental illness for his violent crime, when the drug abuse appears to be the greater contributing factor.

    Holmes, on the other hand, has entered an insanity plea. This does not mean that he has a mental illness, and does not mean that he was legally insane at the time of the murder, any more than entering a “not guilty” plea automatically means that one did not commit the crime. From the linked article:

    He underwent a mandatory sanity evaluation last year, but the key finding — whether he could tell right from wrong — has not been released.

    Prosecutors contended the psychiatrist who conducted that exam was biased. Samour ruled the evaluation was flawed and ordered another, which will take place this summer.

    The second psychiatrist has offered to destroy the video after he completes his written report, but Samour ordered him to submit the recording along with his report, with copies to Samour, the defense and the prosecution. The report is due Oct. 15.

    The evaluation is not the final word on whether Holmes was insane. Jurors will make that determination, but the evaluation is a key piece of the evidence they will consider.

    So…I don’t think this is a case of “circular reasoning.” But I will make the case that when people massacre innocents for no apparent reason that the act in itself is at least some evidence that might indicate mental problems. At least it should be considered?

    A few things:
    1. Why might violent acts indicate mental problems? Can you establish a correlation between having a mental disorder and increased likelihood to commit violent acts?
    2. How does this apply to the Elliot Rodger shooting? That crime wasn’t “for no apparent reason.” He gave video testimony and a written manifesto of his reasons.
    3. Do you think all terrorists have mental illnesses? Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the 9/11 hijackers, Ramzi Yousef, Richard Reid the shoe bomber, Eric Christian Rudolph and the people who bomb abortion clinics, are they all mentally ill? Or is it possible for people without a mental illness to determine that some people, for reasons based in their beliefs, deserve to die, or are acceptable collateral damage in killing people who do deserve to die?

    For my part, I think there’s a difference between people who kill because they don’t know reality from fantasy or right from wrong, and people who kill because they believe they have a rationale for doing so. We as a culture accept that there are ways to psychologically train people to dehumanize enemies, to justify killing numerous people, and to rationalize away civilian deaths as acceptable losses. Do we really think that only the armed forces are capable of doing that training? Or do we think that basic training instills people with a mental illness?

    Follow-up. I do believe minimizing the role of mental illness in mass shooting events does little to serve the mentally ill, and certainly little to serve the victims of such events. Denial doesn’t help either group.

    We cannot “minimize the role” of something that cannot be established to have existed. Are we “minimizing the role” of God’s meddling in physical processes when we conclude that an experiment occurred due to natural forces? Or are we rightly recognizing that something which cannot be established to exist cannot be the cause of another thing.

    Find Elliot Rodger’s diagnosis. Then and only then will we have any rational basis for talking about the role of mental illness in causing his violent crime.

    Please, also, note that you linked to an opinion piece, one that held the same opinion as Glenn, and made the same attempt to dismiss and explain away cultural factors. The author says it’s incorrect to ascribe blame to “right-wing political demagoguery” for the Loughner killing, but he didn’t choose his targets or his rhetoric at random. Neither did Rodger. The author undercuts his own point, not just by assuming that Rodger has a mental illness without any evidence of diagnosis, not just by citing a killer who does not seem to have had any diagnosed mental illness, but by citing a factor that actually does unite mass murderers:

    Mass-homicide perpetrators often target groups they particularly feel have wronged them, whether their own families, their work colleagues or society as a whole.

    Or, you know, women he thinks he deserves who have spurned him, and the men that they prefer over him.

  185. Reality_based_community says

    John @184

    Again: the statement is saying you will not be accepted as an ally to feminists and anti-racists and advocates for the mentally ill and gay rights activists (though you may proclaim yourself one such) if you don’t think they belong within the atheist movement.

    And I hope we’ve cleared this up at this point? That’s not what I think, or anything I have ever advocated. If anything, my comments have been nothing but a condemnation of exclusionary tendencies in the movement. All of those groups should be made to feel welcome, as should JG…and Dusty…and numerous others. Not that I think all forms of behavior should be accepted. Beliefs that are harmful and bigoted and that “cross the line” should be soundly condemned. I guess the primary point of contention is who such persons actually are. I certainly don’t see the face of evil in JG or Dusty.

  186. Reality_based_community says

    Tom,

    Is our point of contention the legal definition of insanity, defined as knowing right from wrong or being aware of possible consequences of one’s actions? That is not the medical definition, and doesn’t preclude mental conditions that fall short of that standard (which are the vast majority of such conditions) from having some kind of causal relationship to mass shootings. Ted Bundy was a frickin’ sociopath, without a trace of the human capacity for empathy…a profoundly crippling mental illness (though they do seem rather successful in the corporate and political spheres). He didn’t come close to meeting the legal standard of insanity by virtue of the illness from which he quite clearly suffered. The legal standard is just a rule by which we have collectively decided that somebody may be culpable for their actions. It’s not at all relevant to the question of whether mental illness is a causal factor in a given crime.

    I understand your concern that we not demonize the mentally ill. I’ve heard that probably the majority of our population suffers from some form of mental illness, most of them undiagnosed…possibly even you or I. But that concern shouldn’t preclude an examination of the role of mental illness in mass shootings. Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

  187. Reality_based_community says

    Tessa @201

    When he (he objected to singular they, so I’ll just be presumptuous and use “he”) gave that comment I realized his absolutist statement was him being so absolute it circles around to vague again. “Is X bad enough to be considered legitimate racism?” “I don’t really considered that sexism.” “If we draw the line too narrowly on what is ableist, we’ll lose allies.” And so forth. That’s my prediction at least.

    Tessa, can we please let the whole “they” thing go…the term really wasn’t what I was objecting to, and my objection was so mild that I’m surprised anybody even followed up on it…let alone continually perpetuate that comment across many threads.

    But…your allusions to Todd Akin aside, I do think the question boils down to how much certain behaviors will be tolerated. At one extreme we have Madam DeFarge vigilantly monitoring all persons for possible lack of sufficient loyalty to a given cause. By such standard JG is racist or misogynist. That is a line “too tightly drawn.” Especially since I’ve found absolutely no hint of bigotry of any kind in any of her videos. In my experience, I believe the vast majority of our population possesses some degree of racism, however subtlety or unconsciously it manifests. But if an individual who I know is generally a good person and standup guy tells me a racist joke (which sometimes actually happens), I usually respond with something along the lines of “dude! don’t pull that shit here. That’s some pretty fucking racist shit!” I don’t generally try to have them shunned with “DON’T EVER DARKEN MY DOORWAY AGAIN MOTHERFUCKER!” And JG hasn’t done anything that remotely approximates that sort of bad behavior.

  188. Tessa says

    Reality Based Community:

    I do think the question boils down to how much certain behaviors will be tolerated. At one extreme we have Madam DeFarge vigilantly monitoring all persons for possible lack of sufficient loyalty to a given cause. By such standard JG is racist or misogynist. That is a line “too tightly drawn.” Especially since I’ve found absolutely no hint of bigotry of any kind in any of her videos. In my experience, I believe the vast majority of our population possesses some degree of racism, however subtlety or unconsciously it manifests. But if an individual who I know is generally a good person and standup guy tells me a racist joke (which sometimes actually happens), I usually respond with something along the lines of “dude! don’t pull that shit here. That’s some pretty fucking racist shit!” I don’t generally try to have them shunned with “DON’T EVER DARKEN MY DOORWAY AGAIN MOTHERFUCKER!” And JG hasn’t done anything that remotely approximates that sort of bad behavior.

    That’s much more helpful than “And how much of the behaviors you describe do we tolerate in the atheist community? I’d say none. And not just in the atheist community, but in any setting.”
    Tolerating one single racist joke is tolerating some racist behavior. As you said, most people do have some prejudices, and I also wouldn’t randomly shun them over one joke, I’d base it on continued behavior and especially on how they respond to being informed of their behavior.

    If your stand up friend responded with “it’s just a joke” and dismissed your statement and still occasionally told racist jokes in your presence? How many before he seemed less of a stand up guy? Or would he be that good standup guy who just sometimes told racist jokes?

    And what about your opinion of the Amazing Atheist? Has he engaged in enough misogynistic statements to make you less tolerant of him? And what do you think of JG teaming up with him? Does that make her seem too tolerant of misogyny?

  189. Reality_based_community says

    Al Dente

    Your tone trolling doesn’t impress us. Most of us here are more concerned with substance than tone. Your preference for tone over substance says more about you than about us.

    It appears to me that this entire thread arose because of the objection to JG’s “mocking” tone, as has been explicitly stated on numerous comments here. All I was saying is that snark is better used judiciously, and ad homs virtually never. It’s not helpful. I try to avoid it myself. Having said that, I certainly prefer substantive comments, the sort of substance lacking in your own comment above.

    That’s because you’re refusing to acknowledge her support of bigotry. She associates herself with TJ Kincaid who is a misogynist and rape apologist. How is that not condoning bigotry?

    I have no idea who TJ Kincaid is, nor any knowledge of the nature of JG’s association with said individual. I’ve asked for the intel re this, but none has been provided. So I’ll ask again – who is this TJ Kincaid person, and what is the nature of JG’s association with TJ?

  190. Tessa says

    TJ Kincaid is “the Amazing Atheist”. He and Jaclyn Glenn are joining forces for a Tshirt deal thingie.

  191. Reality_based_community says

    OB

    RBC are you calling me Madame DeFarge?

    Absolutely and unequivocally not you, OB. And not anybody real. Just a metaphor.

  192. Reality_based_community says

    TJ Kincaid is “the Amazing Atheist”. He and Jaclyn Glenn are joining forces for a Tshirt deal thingie.

    I don’t know who the Amazing Atheist is either. Let me consult the google machine.

  193. Reality_based_community says

    Well I found quite a bit of stuff on the Amazing Atheist. I must say, his mind is not only twisted, but might actually be sprained. But all I have found is that JG and AA are selling the same t-shirts. I”m not sure what that implies about any association between the two.

  194. Reality_based_community says

    Tessa

    If your stand up friend responded with “it’s just a joke” and dismissed your statement and still occasionally told racist jokes in your presence? How many before he seemed less of a stand up guy? Or would he be that good standup guy who just sometimes told racist jokes?

    Valid question. I don’t know. Possibly the third joke might get their ass kicked out of my home.

  195. Al Dente says

    Reality_based_community @207

    It appears to me that this entire thread arose because of the objection to JG’s “mocking” tone, as has been explicitly stated on numerous comments here. All I was saying is that snark is better used judiciously, and ad homs virtually never. It’s not helpful. I try to avoid it myself. Having said that, I certainly prefer substantive comments, the sort of substance lacking in your own comment above.

    Now I understand you. You don’t have a clue about what this thread is about. You’re under the delusion people are objecting to Glenn’s “mocking tone.” Boy, how stupid is that? Reading for comprehension is obviously not your first language. Here’s Jackie @17:

    What’s to be jealous of?

    The poorly produced videos?
    The lack of content or reasoning in those videos?
    That she pals around with a misogynist who make rape threats?
    That she hawks T-shirts with a word she doesn’t understand on it?
    That she’s so full of herself that she thinks people need to criticize her public videos in private?
    That she plagiarizes Youtube comments and tweets?

    She isn’t smart, well informed or funny. She’s got a following because she’s telling the douchebro, manbaby, asshole atheists what they want to hear. Sucking up to the status quo isn’t edgy or rare. It certainly isn’t to be admired or envied. She’s a nitwit I had never heard of until she said something stupid about feminists and St. Dawkins decided that made her the sort of female atheist he could promote rather than try to blacklist.

    Nothing there about mocking tone.

    You appear to confuse being prolix (that’s a fancy word which means “long and wordy, extended to great, unnecessary, or tedious length”) with being substantial. You’re prolix but you’re not substantial.

    I have no idea who TJ Kincaid is

    This is the problem with people like you walking into a conversation without knowing what the rest of us are talking about. And you wonder why people are snarky to poor, little, fucking ignorant you.

  196. Reality_based_community says

    Al, you seem to have a lot of unrepressed hostility about nothing in particular. But that’s just coming from “poor little fucking ignorant” moi. Go for a walk, relax a little bit, and enjoy the sunshine. You’ll feel better, I promise.

  197. Maureen Brian says

    Reality_based_comminity @ 217,

    Tell me, are you taking over the whole blog or just this thread so that you can tell people how to behave and what they’re allowed to say? Have you cleared this with Ophelia?

    It’s a good thing we don’t carry bad behaviour meters. There’d be too many broken by now.

  198. Reality_based_community says

    MB -what is it exactly that your are objecting to? That I have too many posts on this thread, and therefore am “taking it over?” I honestly didn’t know such a thing was possible. I was just responding to folks who responded to me.

  199. John Morales says

    RBC @207:

    It appears to me that this entire thread arose because of the objection to JG’s “mocking” tone, as has been explicitly stated on numerous comments here.

    Actually, the proximate genesis of this particular thread is JG’s social media reaction to Ophelia’s reaction to JS’s “bio”.

    (To be pedantic)

    In passing, it’s evident you do not know the difference between an argumentum ad hominem and a gibe.

  200. Jack Stone says

    Tom Foss @181

    By the way, that “Funny though that I have not seen for myself any of these attacks,” implying that they are either rare or do not exist? That’s what we call an argument from ignorance. I guess skepticism and logic aren’t part of that “shared philosophy” that separates atheists from dogmatists.

    They are rare among what I have personally seen. So either they are actually rare, or they are mostly found on sections of the internet I don’t visit. Either way they do not represent the sorts of arguments made against A+ in places like this.

    You keep using that word without actually explaining what you mean by it. How have you been “pigeonholed”?

    You compared me to general A+ haters and then use it to reinforce your dismissal of what I say.

    You listed a number of features in your response to the knitting analogy–that A+ is framed as progress, reacting to the consequences of being involved in atheism, that atheism outside of A+ is not truly atheism, and that those who oppose A+ support the degradation of atheism. You listed these things in response, as you said, to the excessive attacks against A+, and then went on to say that A+ shares specific commonalities with dogma.
    So what was your purpose in listing those grievances against A+? Based on context, it seems you either intended them to be a defense against or justification for the abuse A+ has received, or as evidence to support that A+ is dogmatic. Since you specifically said that you did not intend to justify the attacks (#95), the latter would seem to be the case. You also said it “would be the same” for Christians offering the same kind of “criticism” to atheists in general, since atheists make many of the same claims that you find objectionable in A+.

    I meant it as neither. I read you as offering your history of A+ and I thought my points were relevant to that.

    Great. Let’s accept, on face value, that this is the definition of dogma. Some problems immediately surface:
    1. This definition is significantly different from your original definition of dogma, “considerably more social pressure to agree with its tenets than reason to support those beliefs as derived from a common philosophy.” In fact, given that philosophy is a system of principles (and that nearly all philosophical systems include axioms that are considered incontrovertibly true), this definition would suggest that both your examples of dogma and not-dogma are, in fact, dogma.

    There is no reason false beliefs/logic should be coherent except by random chance. You can support axioms by causation and induction (which in turn can be supported by probability). Besides something gives if you can always be sure the things you see right in front of you won’t just disappear.

    2. No “authority” laid down the set of principles represented by Atheism+. In fact, they were arrived at by general consensus, determined by people who already accepted those principles for various reasons.
    3. The principles of Atheism+ are not considered “incontrovertibly true.” How can they be? They aren’t statements of fact, they aren’t prescriptive. They’re descriptions of common values. What does it mean to say that “We are… Atheists plus we care about social justice” is “incontrovertibly true”? It’s not like it’s beyond investigation.
    4. Under this definition, isn’t every nation, state, municipality, and club with a constitution also a dogma?

    Maybe. This follows and is shaped by a long a history of dogmatic laws that were clearly unjust. You can argue it supports unjust laws today. Perhaps though there is potential for improvement on this front.

    What’s nice, though, is that this is a textbook example of cherry-picking. You pulled the definition from Wikipedia, which goes on to say:

    It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system’s paradigm, or the ideology itself. The term can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, religion, or issued decisions of political authorities.

    Emphasis mine. So, under this broad definition, not only is Atheism+ a dogma, but so is atheism (if, indeed, you think it is “the result of beliefs derived from a common philosophy”), and so are laws.

    Atheism does not require any atheists to have anything in common besides the definition.

    Do you think laws are dogmatic, Jack? If so, what does it mean to use the word “dogma”? You’ve been using it all along as though it were pejorative, as it usually is in atheist/skeptic circles, but your definition is so broad that it hardly seems like calling something “dogmatic” is a criticism of the thing, when so many good and necessary things are, by this definition, dogma.

    Why do laws by requirement need to be dogma? The system can screen for dogma. The courts can reject laws with a good amount of flexibility and interpretation. The legitimacy of the government is based on the inalienable rights. They are not recognized as being so because the government says so or because political will behind them. So, anything that can be reasoned to oppose inalienable rights can be rejected. That doesn’t make the system perfect, but it provides a basis for improvement.

    dogma
    1. an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behavior, etc., as of a church. Synonyms: doctrine, teachings, set of beliefs, philosophy.
    2. a specific tenet or doctrine authoritatively laid down, as by a church: the dogma of the Assumption; the recently defined dogma of papal infallibility. Synonyms: tenet, canon, law.
    3. prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group: the difficulty of resisting political dogma.
    4. a settled or established opinion, belief, or principle: the classic dogma of objectivity in scientific observation. Synonyms: conviction, certainty.

    In this case, the basic common principles around which Atheism+ organized might constitute dogma in the first definition. The American Declaration of Independence would also qualify. It does not really qualify under the second definition, since it was not “authoritatively laid down,” but arose organically from democratic processes, and principles are still debated. Your definition matches most closely with the third one, which is the one with the pejorative connotation in atheist/skeptic circles. It is also the one that most clearly does not apply to the principles of Atheism+, since again, they are descriptive rather than prescriptive and it is meaningless to say they are “unquestionably true.” The fourth applies, certainly. For most people in Atheism+, things like opposing racism are settled beliefs. But the fourth also seems to apply to any belief that is generally held to be true.

    So when everyone acts as if not all beliefs are equal, it would be fair to say they are regarded as true (or at least are given equal credibility). When there is no common philosophy there is nothing to question.

    Oh dear, they wish to succeed in supporting women’s rights and opposing racism. The horror.

    I was not being critical of the goals. I was referencing them to support the notion that they are not merely understood to be another opinion.

    So your evidence of Atheism+ being insulting is to cite a forum where some, but not all, people identify with Atheism+, and where they are responding to a video that specifically calls Atheism+ “pussies.” Where did that kettle go again?
    Ah, I see. It’s personal. They hurt your feelings, you poor dear. And all you did was call Atheism+ and the commenters pretentious, intimidating, entitled, and authoritarian, while also tone-trolling and spreading the usual myth about Atheism+ being a mandatory power grab that claims social justice values necessarily spring from atheism, and that feminism would be better if it were just equalism or somesuch.

    More partisanship. My arguments there have yet to be refuted. I argued for the accusations I made. Was I harsh? Yes, but it was in response to and directed at the prior aggression. I said Jaclyn had a point to emphasis equality, said I think getting to the deeper issues that prevent equality is the most productive path. My comments would hardly apply to all of feminism.
    What may I ask is wrong with so called “tone trolling”? I understood trolling to relate to distractions from the discussion and instigation or escalation of hostility. That’s what insults and other naked assertions do.

    Yes, you were treated harshly. You were called names, some of which could not be said on daytime television. One thing you’ll find, especially on Pharyngula, is that they don’t have a problem with so-called naughty words, but they do have a problem with bad attitudes and bad conduct. Attitudes like arrogance and condescension, conduct like spreading easily-corrected, oft-debunked myths, refusing to do the due diligence when informed that they are incorrect, and asking loaded questions based on false premises. Such attitudes and conduct are profoundly disrespectful, and you received disrespect in kind.

    You really are only critical of my supposed “bad attitudes and bad conduct” and can’t see anything from my opponents that fits that description? My criticism was contingent on the actual comments directed at me and others. I did not invent any wild stereotypes. My disagreement with PZ was pretty obviously based on his unquestioned assumption that atheism is the language that best describes our position. But of course, you seem to see it as unreasonable that I would insist on not being incorrect when told I am.

    Note, however, that you were not the subject of gendered or bigoted insults. You were not followed around on social media by anonymous accounts spamming you with abuse. You were not photoshopped into porn pictures or caricatured as a pig or sex doll. You got called a fuckwit, and that’s not nice, but it’s also not what you’d get if you were posting pro-feminist or pro-A+ material on atheism/skepticism boards.
    Once again, if you have a problem with insults, you are complaining to the wrong department.

    All of which makes those insults more legitimate, how? I would think all of the above are used to demean people and preempt their ability to respond fairly.

    You accept that people can say one thing and practice another, but accept at face value the claims of antifeminists support equality?

    No, but I support any statement for equality.

    Feminists recognize that society as it is currently constructed results in unfair treatment of women, and seek achieve equality by correcting that. Antifeminists claim to support equality, and in many cases allege that since women are equal under the law, then equality has been achieved. Which side is correct depends on whether you think the letter of the law–and not its enforcement or more general social mores–is the sole determining factor of equality.

    And I agree with the Feminists on this.

    No, you peddle myths more generally (Atheism+ is a power grab, Atheism+ claims social justice follows necessarily from dictionary atheism, Atheism+ is meant to be mandatory for all atheists, etc.). But citing Richard Carrier is a part of it. While he claimed to speak for Atheism+, the actual group who was involved in forming Atheism+ disagreed vehemently.
    If I quoted Rael as a spokesperson for atheism, claiming that atheists generally believed in alien-driven Intelligent Design, would that be fair and accurate to atheists?

    Then perhaps I should reframe it as being that my claims apply to some elements of A+ more than others.

    Says the guy who assumes one visit to one comment thread is representative, but multiple links to multiple aggregation posts are cherry-picking. Keep that motivated reasoning train a-rollin’!

    Well, the comments have enough of a sample size and the blog post was directly related to A+ criticism. So either Pharyngula wildly skews away from A+(even though it does represent a certain audience), or it is representative.

  201. Reality_based_community says

    In passing, it’s evident you do not know the difference between an argumentum ad hominem and a gibe.

    I’ll give you that, John. I used the term carelessly. No, they weren’t ad hominem attacks employed to further some line of argument. They were just gratuitous insults apropos of nothing. But that’s ok. It really is. I’m not easily offended, and I’ve developed a thick skin over the years. All I said is that I wasn’t going to respond to them, which seemed to provoke another round of gratuitous insults. Somehow that in itself constitutes being a “tone troll.” There are some behaviors I don’t understand, and I just leave it at that.

  202. Al Dente says

    Al, you seem to have a lot of unrepressed hostility about nothing in particular.

    True, you’re nothing in particular. Mouthy, opinionated, ignorant fuckwits are a dime a dozen. There’s nothing special about you other than you’ve taken over this thread and made it all about you. My hostility towards you is based on the simple fact that you’re tedious. You have nothing to say but say it at great length. Your overinflated opinion of yourself is not a selling point either.

    Go for a walk, relax a little bit, and enjoy the sunshine. You’ll feel better, I promise.

    Why don’t you disappear? That would make me feel much better. Incidentally it rained here today.

  203. Jack Stone says

    @181 I missed this:

    This doesn’t address the question. Who is “all”? What is the “objective standard”? Who enforces the bonds?

    Everyone. Coherence/Consistency/Logic. Evolution.

  204. Reality_based_community says

    John –
    cf. Al Dente @223.

    I think it sort of illustrates my point.

    (I note you didn’t respond to it, though you did find time to attempt to patronise Al Dente)

    How does one respond reasonably to a statement such as “poor little ignorant fucking you?” I at least responded in a way to attempted to move the peg about several hundred notches down the scale of “pointlessly belligerent vitriol.”

  205. says

    @R_b_c:

    Is our point of contention the legal definition of insanity, defined as knowing right from wrong or being aware of possible consequences of one’s actions?

    No, I explicitly used the legal definition, as I said, because Jaclyn Glenn explicitly uses it in her Rodger videos. You also explicitly used it when referring to James Holmes. It is also the only definition of “insanity” for which we have any evidence that allows us to say anything meaningful about Elliot Rodger.

    I was explicit about which connotation of “insanity” I was using specifically to avoid the possibility of equivocation.

    That is not the medical definition, and doesn’t preclude mental conditions that fall short of that standard (which are the vast majority of such conditions) from having some kind of causal relationship to mass shootings.

    I agree. The fact is, however, that such a causal relationship would have to be demonstrated before it could be cited. It’s also possible that people can have a sensitivity to microwaves, but we cannot blame their headaches on electromagnetic radiation until that relationship has been demonstrated.

    Ted Bundy was a frickin’ sociopath, without a trace of the human capacity for empathy…a profoundly crippling mental illness (though they do seem rather successful in the corporate and political spheres).

    Do you realize that you have just proven my point here? Yes, we have one prominent example of a person who had a mental illness and committed violent crimes. But in the very same sentence, you note that other people with the same disorder live successful lives without committing violent crimes. So sociopathy alone is not a predictor of violent crime, and violent crime alone cannot determine whether a person is sociopathic.

    In fact, “sociopathy” is not a diagnosis. It, and “psychopathy” are not in the DSM-V, and distinctions between the terms are fuzzy at best. They’re classified as personality disorders, related to Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathic Personality Disorder, and there is contention so to whether or not personality disorders qualify as mental illness.

    But more salient to the point, most sociopaths and psychopaths are not violent criminals, and most violent criminals are not sociopaths or psychopaths. So yes, Ted Bundy was likely a psychopath, and Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, was likely not. Mass murder is not a telltale symptom of psychopathy.

    To put it a different way: let’s say you drive by an accident on the highway. Just based on the condition of the cars, you can’t know if the driver of either was drunk. In this case, it’s inarguably true that drinking is a risk factor for getting into a car accident, and in fact drunk drivers are more likely to get into accidents than sober ones (something you have yet to establish for the mentally ill and violent crime), but a car accident alone is not enough to make a determination that someone was driving drunk.

    But that concern shouldn’t preclude an examination of the role of mental illness in mass shootings. Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

    I agree, we should examine the role of mental illness in mass shootings. The problem that you keep failing to see is that, absent a diagnosis, we cannot conclude that mental illness had any role, causal or otherwise, in Elliot Rodger’s actions, any more than we can conclude that heroin or video games or comic books or bowling or Slim Whitman records had any role in his attacks.

    Incidentally, I also think we should examine the role of hate in mass killings. I would suspect that we’d find a much higher comorbidity than with mental illness.

    I”m not sure what that implies about any association between the two.

    Yeah, R_b_c, your concern about shitty replies? I was going to drop it, but then you said this. The first image in the original post, PZ Myers at comment #12, and me at comment #122 all outlined how JG is associated with the Amazing Atheist.

    Not reading what people have written? That’s shitty.

  206. John Morales says

    RBC @226:

    How does one respond reasonably to a statement such as “poor little ignorant fucking you?”

    Me, I do it easily — you, apparently not-so-much.

    Anyway, “it” in the parenthetical you quoted referred to the hyperlinked comment.

    SallyStrange’s trenchant comment #197, that is.

    PS Regarding what you perceive to be gratuitous insults, I refer you to what is termed the fundamental attribution error.

  207. Reality_based_community says

    John.

    RBC @226:

    How does one respond reasonably to a statement such as “poor little ignorant fucking you?”

    Me, I do it easily — you, apparently not-so-much.

    I thought I responded easily enough, and in a far more lighthearted manner than it deserved. But I’m always willing to learn. How do you typically respond to such comments?

    Anyway, “it” in the parenthetical you quoted referred to the hyperlinked comment.

    SallyStrange’s trenchant comment #197, that is.

    I read the comment. Since it didn’t really address anything I’ve said, I really didn’t feel compelled to respond. And honestly, I don’t think I have anything useful to say as a response. I guess on man’s perceived “trenchant comment” is another man’s (or woman’s) trolling (which is explicitly what she said she was doing).

    PS Regarding what you perceive to be gratuitous insults, I refer you to what is termed the fundamental attribution error.

    Not really relevant here, John, Decidedly not relevant. If you can find anything I said that reasonably provoked the level of vitriol displayed, I’ll gladly retract it. My purpose here is really to provoke. Seriously…scouts honor. Al’s insults are entirely all of out proportion to anything I said. In fact, I can’t really even identify exactly *what* he is responding to. It went rather like this:

    Me: I have no idea who the Amazing Atheist is.

    Al: YOU MOTHERFUCKER, HOW DARE YOU SAY ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING THEN, YOU WORTHLESS IGNORANT FUCK!!!

    Me: *stares off into the middle distance*

    I’m not complaining, and calling attention to it wasn’t itself a complaint. As I said, I have a thick skin, and such outbursts say far more about them than me. So if your reference to the “fundamental attribution error” was intended to mean that the outburst was a reasonable response to any provocation of mine…I have to respectfully disagree. If you didn’t mean that, then….well, I’m not sure what you mean.

    Perhaps this is an area where our feminist sisters can help us do better. Many have noted that conversations among those of my own gender are, regardless of the overt content, really about positioning and dick measuring and dominance. I have to say I agree. Perhaps they can help all of us be a little less dickish.

  208. chigau (違う) says

    Actually, my statement about ‘them’ learning to blockquote was a plural.
    Reality_based_community was not the only one not using blockquotes and was not the only one who learned.
    Still a troll, though.

  209. John Morales says

    [meta + OT]

    Reality_based_community @229:

    I thought I responded easily enough, and in a far more lighthearted manner than it deserved. But I’m always willing to learn. How do you typically respond to such comments?

    I prove them wrong, for what that’s worth.

    More seriously, this is an example of why Al Dente wrote “There’s nothing special about you other than you’ve taken over this thread and made it all about you.”

    This is not the social chit-chat thread, nor an open thread. It’s not about how you or I deal with particular comments.

    It is a topical thread (cf. #220) which branched off, but nonetheless it is not about chit-chat.

    I read the comment [#197]. Since it didn’t really address anything I’ve said, I really didn’t feel compelled to respond. And honestly, I don’t think I have anything useful to say as a response.

    Your admission is duly noted.

    I guess on man’s perceived “trenchant comment” is another man’s (or woman’s) trolling (which is explicitly what she said she was doing).

    <smirk>

    Right; there is no cravenness in ignoring trolling, so your reticence is quite rational. Sure.

    Perhaps this is an area where our feminist sisters can help us do better.

    FFS!

    (I guess this is supposedly humorous, too — nothing to do with trolling, nosiree)

  210. Al Dente says

    Misstatement – my purpose here is *not* to provoke.

    Then you’re failing miserably.

  211. says

    @Jack Stone:

    They are rare among what I have personally seen. So either they are actually rare, or they are mostly found on sections of the internet I don’t visit. Either way they do not represent the sorts of arguments made against A+ in places like this.

    The reason for that is largely aggressive comment moderation.

    You compared me to general A+ haters and then use it to reinforce your dismissal of what I say.

    No, what you say can be easily dismissed because it is wrong. That it happens to be identical to what most of the A+ haters have been peddling for two years now is just unsurprising.

    I meant it as neither. I read you as offering your history of A+ and I thought my points were relevant to that.

    They weren’t.

    There is no reason false beliefs/logic should be coherent except by random chance.

    This does much to explain your comments.

    Maybe. This follows and is shaped by a long a history of dogmatic laws that were clearly unjust. You can argue it supports unjust laws today. Perhaps though there is potential for improvement on this front.

    Except that any improvement would also be under the guidance of some Constitution, would it not? You’re draining more and more of the venom and meaning from the word “dogma.”

    Atheism does not require any atheists to have anything in common besides the definition.

    I agree. So let’s take a look again at your original defining characteristic of dogma:

    considerably more social pressure to agree with its tenets than reason to support those beliefs as derived from a common philosophy.

    Now let’s examine two groups:

    1. Atheism+, a group that arose organically from people who independently agreed on certain common principles that they arrived at through common philosophies and shared beliefs in secularist and humanist values.

    2. Atheism, a loosely-affiliated group of individuals who are only required to share a lack of belief in gods, regardless of their reason for supporting that belief position.

    Which one of these two groups actually fits your definition of dogma?

    The legitimacy of the government is based on the inalienable rights. They are not recognized as being so because the government says so or because political will behind them. So, anything that can be reasoned to oppose inalienable rights can be rejected. That doesn’t make the system perfect, but it provides a basis for improvement.

    Wait, “inalienable rights””? In what way is a declaration of “inalienable rights” not “a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true”? How is the system you outlined not one which “rules/values/principles” like “inalienable rights” are “delivered in such a way as to discourage discussion,” if laws which violate those principles can be rejected outright?

    Congratulations, Jack, you’re a dogmatist by your own standards!

    I was referencing them to support the notion that they are not merely understood to be another opinion.

    Great. So, goals are bad unless the organization which holds those goals expresses them as “these are our goals, but like, you can totally have goals that are mutually contradictory, man, it’s all just opinion, whoa.”

    Which is kind of antithetical to the notion of a goal. Like, a goal is something you want to accomplish, right? Something you care about whether or not it gets done? Your problem with Atheism+ is that it has goals and also would like to work to achieve those goals, and that if your goals are different, you probably should find a different group?

    Joining clubs must have been hell for you in school.

    I said Jaclyn had a point to emphasis equality, said I think getting to the deeper issues that prevent equality is the most productive path.

    Did you provide any evidence to support this claim, or just assert it authoritatively?

    What may I ask is wrong with so called “tone trolling”? I understood trolling to relate to distractions from the discussion and instigation or escalation of hostility.

    Tone trolling is a distraction from the discussion. But I must make a correction, what you were doing at Pharyngula was actually concern trolling, which is an act of authoritarianism and condescension. Telling someone “you’re doing it wrong,” especially when you provide no evidence to back up your claim, is proclaiming that you know more about that person’s goals and experiences than they do.

    But of course, you seem to see it as unreasonable that I would insist on not being incorrect when told I am.

    No, I find it unreasonable that you insist that you are correct when, by your own admission, you are ignorant of many of the facts, when you are parroting common misconceptions, and when you are basing your argument on assertions, arguments from ignorance, and untenable double-standards.

    All of which makes those insults more legitimate, how? I would think all of the above are used to demean people and preempt their ability to respond fairly.

    They don’t make the insults you received on Pharyngula more legitimate. As near as I can tell, PZ himself violated the three-comment rule, which is bad form on his part.

    All of that, however, demonstrates that your treatment in the Pharyngula comment thread, which you have been using as evidence that Atheism+ is full of nasty dogmatists, pales in comparison to what Atheism+ proponents receive everywhere online from opponents, whose behavior you have repeatedly proclaimed ignorance of and dismissed as aberrant. The irony being that your treatment at Pharyngula actually violated the rules of the commentariat, and was aberrant by definition.

    You used 9 insults per 16 comments as your metric before (you managed 5 insults in 1 comment, but who’s counting). So I took a look at the recent Twitter mentions for some prominent A+-aligned and related individuals, looking for the insults per comment ratio.
    Melody Hensley: 5/16
    Ophelia Benson: 5/16, not counting various peddling myths about feminism
    Stephanie Zvan: 4/16
    Rebecca Watson: 7/16

    Also, I searched a couple of hashtags; since these are undirected, they’re more negative/insulting comments per total comments:
    #AtheismPlus: 10/16
    #FTBullies: 11/16
    Now,, I know you’re thinking “ha, that’s nothing like what I endured!” Except that these are just within the last day–in some cases, the last few hours. These aren’t the (inexcusable) result of any of those people wandering into a conversation and behaving like a condescending ass, but are in most cases unsolicited, targeted harassment. And they are ongoing. This is a random sample, from one relatively quiet Sunday. This is an experiment that you can recreate yourself.

    Then perhaps I should reframe it as being that my claims apply to some elements of A+ more than others.

    That would be slightly more accurate, yes.

    Well, the comments have enough of a sample size and the blog post was directly related to A+ criticism. So either Pharyngula wildly skews away from A+(even though it does represent a certain audience), or it is representative.

    Or, you know, it’s not. You know what is representative of A+? The Atheism+ Forum. Maybe retry your experiment over there, where you can eliminate the confounding factors.

  212. says

    @Jack Stone:

    Everyone. Coherence/Consistency/Logic. Evolution

    Your “binding enforcement” claim makes less sense each time you bring it up. This is completely incoherent.

  213. Reality_based_community says

    John –

    Perhaps this is an area where our feminist sisters can help us do better.

    FFS!

    (I guess this is supposedly humorous, too — nothing to do with trolling, nosiree)

    No trolling intended here, John. Not trying to be funny. I honestly believe it. There is no need to presume a lack of sincerity at every turn. Many people have come into my life at various stages and have improved my life…men and women. That is not something I take for granted or take lightly. I believe I have done the same for others. My statement isn’t snark in any sense. A feminist perspective is very valuable, and absolutely has confronted me with issues that have forced me to make a course correction. And I value those people.

  214. John Morales says

    [OT]

    Reality_based_community @34:

    No trolling intended here, John. Not trying to be funny. I honestly believe it.

    Good; then let your feminist sister SallyStrange help you.

    (She was not trolling)

  215. Reality_based_community says

    Then you’re failing miserably.

    Oddly, I knew that was coming the moment I made the misstatement and posted a clarification. I’m beginning to feel like a wounded gazelle in the Serengeti, with many looking for the slightest opening, the merest hint of some perceived slight or provocation to go for the jugular. But that really doesn’t bother me, as I said. I’ve been on the intertubes long enough (since the late 80s) to understand that is just what the medium seems to produce. But I’m always willing to learn. Perhaps you can tell me how I’m supposed to approach comments in a way that doesn’t provoke an outburst of YOU FUCKING IGNORANT FUCKING FUCKWIT FUCKER! And I ask that in all sincerity.

  216. Reality_based_community says

    Good; then let your feminist sister SallyStrange help you.

    (She was not trolling)<b/blockquote?

    By all means, John. I'm open and receptive to it.

  217. Jack Stone says

    John Morales @162

    Do you also consider the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be dogma, and those who advocate for it to be dogmatists?

    Partly. What I would not consider dogma is the claim for example that people are born equal. That goes without saying if we define the only basis to judge anyone to be the decisions they make during their lifetime. A number of other principles can be derived from this. Others like a ban on torture can be argued to derive from stated principles such as justice. Is justice merely assumed? Perhaps, but you could argue that it is in part supported by other statements in there. Anyway, I think the document would be stronger if it contained more statements that mutually supported each other. Like I said to Tom, I see this as following a long history which precedes even the bible of moral doctrines merely being asserted. Unlike with say science progress doesn’t often follow a detailed analysis that innovates now viewpoints. Most modern morality was conceivable in ancient times, even if rejected.
    Also, even if a statement of morality is dogmatic I don’t mean to imply it was arrived at though dogma. Nor that those who believe in it is necessarily dogmatic.

    Dave W @166

    Who said “usually?” I offered a couple of examples pertinent to this thread to perhaps help you understand that the right to associate with whom you wish is identical to the right to judge others..

    But who you associate with might merely be your preference or depend on your perspective.

    Ditto the anti-feminists.

    Often there may be truth to that. But unlike racists I don’t think there is anything about the anti-feminist position that defines them as unreasonable.

    And…? How does this relate to the question of whether or not I have “earned” the right to judge someone? There certainly is no objective measure for that.

    I don’t mean to suggest that there should be some arbiter of who is allowed to judge whom. I want to make the point that there can in principle be the notion that certain reasons for judgment are more valid than others. In that context someone can aim to make their judgment valid. Of course, ultimately they are only answerable to social forces such as evolution. Evolution can however favor objectivity just as the ability for animals to fly depends objectively on the requirements for flight.

  218. John Morales says

    Jack Stone @241:

    Also, even if a statement of morality is dogmatic I don’t mean to imply it was arrived at though dogma. Nor that those who believe in it is necessarily dogmatic.

    Good; now can you apply this concept to A+, too?

    (@47 you wrote: “A+ shares with every dogma I know considerably more social pressure to agree with its tenets than reason to support those beliefs as derived from a common philosophy.”)

  219. says

    Lots of slack has been cut. Yet R_b_c thinks I am trolling. I don’t really feel like helping him out after that. Because really the only two options to explain his misapprehension are inexcusable stupidity or incexusable dishonesty.

  220. says

    But unlike racists I don’t think there is anything about the anti-feminist position that defines them as unreasonable.

    Feminism is commonly defined as the movement to bring about social, political, and economic equality between the genders.

    Opposition to it is unreasonable by definition, unless you think gender inequality is reasonable.

    Anti-feminists are, by definition, unreasonable.

    Interesting arguments can be had about how best to achieve equality. But those who are opposed to feminism have, by definition, excluded themselves from that conversation.

  221. Tessa says

    RCB #229:

    Not really relevant here, John, Decidedly not relevant. If you can find anything I said that reasonably provoked the level of vitriol displayed, I’ll gladly retract it. My purpose here isn’t really to provoke. Seriously…scouts honor. Al’s insults are entirely all of out proportion to anything I said. In fact, I can’t really even identify exactly *what* he is responding to. It went rather like this:

    Me: I have no idea who the Amazing Atheist is.

    Al: YOU MOTHERFUCKER, HOW DARE YOU SAY ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING THEN, YOU WORTHLESS IGNORANT FUCK!!!

    Me: *stares off into the middle distance*

    Here you go again… First you blow Sally Strange’s #153 out of proportion into her calling you a misogynist. Now Al Dente. What Al Dente said was:

    This is the problem with people like you walking into a conversation without knowing what the rest of us are talking about. And you wonder why people are snarky to poor, little, fucking ignorant you.

    Let’s break this into two parts.
    A) “This is the problem with people like you walking into a conversation without knowing what the rest of us are talking about.”

    Well, this is true. Would you walk into a forum about physics and start telling people they are all wrong about stuff when you don’t have a working knowledge of physics? And the “Amazing Atheist” was relevant all along because her association with him is one of the problems people have with her. (which also leads to questioning how tolerant of misogynistic behavior one should be.)

    Now B)”And you wonder why people are snarky to poor, little, fucking ignorant you.”
    Since you focus on the word fuck beyond anything else. Let’s remove it. “And you wonder why people are snarky to you.”

    None of that is “YOU MOTHERFUCKER, HOW DARE YOU SAY ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING THEN, YOU WORTHLESS IGNORANT FUCK!!!”

    You also ignored the REST of Al Dente’s post, zeroing in on the word fuck.
    So here it is again.

    Reality_based_community @207

    It appears to me that this entire thread arose because of the objection to JG’s “mocking” tone, as has been explicitly stated on numerous comments here. All I was saying is that snark is better used judiciously, and ad homs virtually never. It’s not helpful. I try to avoid it myself. Having said that, I certainly prefer substantive comments, the sort of substance lacking in your own comment above.

    Now I understand you. You don’t have a clue about what this thread is about. You’re under the delusion people are objecting to Glenn’s “mocking tone.” Boy, how stupid is that? Reading for comprehension is obviously not your first language. Here’s Jackie @17:

    What’s to be jealous of?

    The poorly produced videos?
    The lack of content or reasoning in those videos?
    That she pals around with a misogynist who make rape threats?
    That she hawks T-shirts with a word she doesn’t understand on it?
    That she’s so full of herself that she thinks people need to criticize her public videos in private?
    That she plagiarizes Youtube comments and tweets?

    She isn’t smart, well informed or funny. She’s got a following because she’s telling the douchebro, manbaby, asshole atheists what they want to hear. Sucking up to the status quo isn’t edgy or rare. It certainly isn’t to be admired or envied. She’s a nitwit I had never heard of until she said something stupid about feminists and St. Dawkins decided that made her the sort of female atheist he could promote rather than try to blacklist.

    Nothing there about mocking tone.

    You appear to confuse being prolix (that’s a fancy word which means “long and wordy, extended to great, unnecessary, or tedious length”) with being substantial. You’re prolix but you’re not substantial.

    Let’s look at Jackie’s list again!

    1)The poorly produced videos?
    2) The lack of content or reasoning in those videos?
    3)That she pals around with a misogynist who make rape threats?
    4) That she hawks T-shirts with a word she doesn’t understand on it?
    5)That she’s so full of herself that she thinks people need to criticize her public videos in private?
    6)That she plagiarizes Youtube comments and tweets?

    2) has certainly been listed a whole lot in this thread. By me included.
    3) Hey, a reference to the “Amazing Atheist”
    4) Yup, this has come up a lot too.
    5) This was the focus of an earlier post by Ophelia. In this post she even said: “She puts out videos without consulting me. I’m allowed to criticize her videos without consulting her. It’s that simple.”

    See? Again, nothing about her tone. The only person in the WHOLE thread that has brought up her tone is you. OR pointing out that if YOUR point was that she was satirizing a tone, using that same tone is hypocritical. (example screechymonkey #124)
    Back to Al Dente in that post.

    You appear to confuse being prolix (that’s a fancy word which means “long and wordy, extended to great, unnecessary, or tedious length”) with being substantial. You’re prolix but you’re not substantial.

    I have criticized this aspect of your posts many times. Though I didn’t use “prolix”, I just pointed out you are often very vague without saying anything. Nothing about tone, but your content.

    So see? That post actually had a lot of content worth responding to. You really need to be less focused on tone and read the content of the posts. Nobody was worried about Jaclyn Glenn’s tone, but her content, and it was found wanting.

  222. says

    Seriously, only a liar or a very stupid person, or a very stupid liar could pass this statement

    LOL, I got under R_b_c’s skin. I feel a whiff of trollishness about my own emotional state right now. “Ha ha, I upset you, that must mean I’m right!” But of course that’s a silly fallacy. Anyway…

    as an admission of trolling.

    And to use that short humorous remark (sorry you didn’t get the joke, r_b_c; perhaps YOU lack a sense of humor) as an excuse to ignore the following statement, here repated for the benefit of other readers:

    And how much misogynistic, anti-feminist, racist, ablist, and homophobic behavior do you tolerate within the atheist community as a whole.

    …And how much of the behaviors you describe do we tolerate in the atheist community? I’d say none. And not just in the atheist community, but in any setting.

    Why, then, object to people objecting to Jaclynn Glenn spreading anti-feminist lies about feminism? Why label the attempts to get her to realize that her understanding of feminism is flawed and inaccurate and that her criticisms are therefore irrelevant and wrong as “inconsequential bullshit”? Why the dismissiveness towards the widespread distaste for her ableist willingness to diagnose mental illness over the internet and blame violence on mental illness without evidence? Why describe the attempts at encouraging people to NOT tolerate those behaviors as “magnifying differences” and “creating fissures where none seem to exist”?

    IF you agree that none of those behaviors are tolerable THEN your characterizations of the objections Glenn’s and Dawkins’ various problematic statements make zero sense. IF, on the other hand, you value presenting a unified front to outsiders over ensuring that there is zero tolerance for the behaviors you just described as intolerable (which, in practice, means getting feminists, advocates for the mentally ill, racists, and gay rights activists to STFU more often than not), THEN your condescending, dismissive chastisement of us, their critics, for creating differences where there are none, or magnifying differences when they are small, makes plenty of sense.

    Do you see what I’m getting at?

    Well, I see no way to characterize that pattern of behavior as either cowardly, trolling, or both.

    So, yeah, if he wants to contribute positively, he’s going to have to start doing a LOT better.

  223. Jack Stone says

    Tom Foss @234

    The reason for that is largely aggressive comment moderation.

    Well the only other place I’ve seen this issue discussed was YouTube. There are some harsh comments sure, but not nearly the sorts you describe.

    Except that any improvement would also be under the guidance of some Constitution, would it not? You’re draining more and more of the venom and meaning from the word “dogma.”

    Look at the partisan decisions made by judges. Given them it is reasonable to expect that judges exercise considerable discretion in interpreting the law. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to so often make it fit their political views. The statements in the constitution can also be quite ambiguous. Also, even if statements in the constitution are dogmatic, the relevant point as to whether their application is dogmatic is in whether the system that can amend it is biased (and of course the judiciary as already stated).

    I agree. So let’s take a look again at your original defining characteristic of dogma:

    considerably more social pressure to agree with its tenets than reason to support those beliefs as derived from a common philosophy.

    Now let’s examine two groups:
    1. Atheism+, a group that arose organically from people who independently agreed on certain common principles that they arrived at through common philosophies and shared beliefs in secularist and humanist values.
    2. Atheism, a loosely-affiliated group of individuals who are only required to share a lack of belief in gods, regardless of their reason for supporting that belief position.
    Which one of these two groups actually fits your definition of dogma?

    Atheism has no set of principles. Atheists do not necessarily arrive at atheism for the same reasons. So there is not requirement for a common philosophy. Also, any social pressure does not derive from the fact atheists don’t believe in god. It may be created by other atheists they may or may not choose to be associated with.

    Wait, “inalienable rights””? In what way is a declaration of “inalienable rights” not “a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true”? How is the system you outlined not one which “rules/values/principles” like “inalienable rights” are “delivered in such a way as to discourage discussion,” if laws which violate those principles can be rejected outright?
    Congratulations, Jack, you’re a dogmatist by your own standards!

    The notion of rights requires only that there be some purpose or predictability to morality and that it pertains to the decisions people make. Inalienable requires the purpose be independent of institutional authority. Those are commonly understood to be related, so they need not be mentioned. They are easily available for argument by anyone who disagrees. They can be derived from induction and causation. The rights are open ended. The constitution does not list all of our potential inalienable rights. So anything that can be reasoned to fit the nature can be part of the process.

    Great. So, goals are bad unless the organization which holds those goals expresses them as “these are our goals, but like, you can totally have goals that are mutually contradictory, man, it’s all just opinion, whoa.”
    Which is kind of antithetical to the notion of a goal. Like, a goal is something you want to accomplish, right? Something you care about whether or not it gets done? Your problem with Atheism+ is that it has goals and also would like to work to achieve those goals, and that if your goals are different, you probably should find a different group?
    Joining clubs must have been hell for you in school.

    No, merely that if the goals are assumed as more than opinion then there is the requirement to avoid being dogmatic.

    Did you provide any evidence to support this claim, or just assert it authoritatively?

    I briefly argued for it. I would have elaborated if anyone questioned me on it.

    Tone trolling is a distraction from the discussion. But I must make a correction, what you were doing at Pharyngula was actually concern trolling, which is an act of authoritarianism and condescension. Telling someone “you’re doing it wrong,” especially when you provide no evidence to back up your claim, is proclaiming that you know more about that person’s goals and experiences than they do.

    In the case of “Tone trolling” the distraction was created by the insults. Why should someone be given free reign because only one side is permitted to decide the terms of the discussion?
    I described comments, argued for how they affected the discourse, why they were unjustified, and how they were encouraged. In fact, the very actions I were describing could be called concern trolling. But I’d rather, you know, be less dogmatic and describe it (not that I heard of the term before).

    No, I find it unreasonable that you insist that you are correct when, by your own admission, you are ignorant of many of the facts, when you are parroting common misconceptions, and when you are basing your argument on assertions, arguments from ignorance, and untenable double-standards.

    Facts and misconceptions about perceptions, untrue: show me where I have done this, refuted, and refuted, although you didn’t even wait for me to respond.

    They don’t make the insults you received on Pharyngula more legitimate. As near as I can tell, PZ himself violated the three-comment rule, which is bad form on his part.
    All of that, however, demonstrates that your treatment in the Pharyngula comment thread, which you have been using as evidence that Atheism+ is full of nasty dogmatists, pales in comparison to what Atheism+ proponents receive everywhere online from opponents, whose behavior you have repeatedly proclaimed ignorance of and dismissed as aberrant. The irony being that your treatment at Pharyngula actually violated the rules of the commentariat, and was aberrant by definition.

    The attacks are wrong. The people who write them may very well be dogmatic, but I have no control over them. Whether are not it is aberrant, what point are you trying to make?

    Your “binding enforcement” claim makes less sense each time you bring it up. This is completely incoherent.

    Well, I elaborated in my reply to Dave. But I could just brush off your claim of incoherency as incoherent. There, now I’m the arbiter of all reason.

  224. Jack Stone says

    SallyStrange @245

    Feminism is commonly defined as the movement to bring about social, political, and economic equality between the genders.
    Opposition to it is unreasonable by definition, unless you think gender inequality is reasonable.
    Anti-feminists are, by definition, unreasonable.
    Interesting arguments can be had about how best to achieve equality. But those who are opposed to feminism have, by definition, excluded themselves from that conversation.

    Anti-Feminists don’t agree with that definition and argue that Feminists engage in other tactics unrelated to equality.
    I have yet to see an argument I consider effective to that point, but ostensibly Anti-Feminism can seem reasonable.

    John Morales @242

    Good; now can you apply this concept to A+, too?
    (@47 you wrote: “A+ shares with every dogma I know considerably more social pressure to agree with its tenets than reason to support those beliefs as derived from a common philosophy.”)

    I don’t see the contradiction. A+ members may not necessarily be dogmatic, and the agenda might not have been arrived at dogmatically, but that doesn’t mean there is not pressure to believe in it dogmatically or to have a disagreement framed dogmatically. Many religious beliefs might not be arrived at dogmatically, and they might not be believed dogmatically. Even if someone references their emotional relationship with god, it can be contingent on actual experience and intuition. So, then what is dogma? Only factual claims without evidence?

  225. says

    Anti-Feminists don’t agree with that definition

    So? That’s anti-feminists being wrong.

    and argue that Feminists engage in other tactics unrelated to equality.

    So? That’s anti-feminists lying, for the most part.

    I have yet to see an argument I consider effective to that point, but ostensibly Anti-Feminism can seem reasonable.

    If you have yet to see and argument as to why feminism is unreasonable, and think that anti-feminism is only ostensibly reasonable, then why do you persist in characterizing anti-feminism as reasonable? It makes no sense.

  226. says

    Also, at this point, it seems we could substitute “bad” for “dogmatic” and it wouldn’t change the conversation any.
    “Dogma” doesn’t seem to be adding much in the way of meaning to the discussion. It’s just a Bad Thing that everyone’s supposed to not have.

  227. John Morales says

    Jack Stone @249:

    John Morales @242

    Good; now can you apply this concept to A+, too?
    (@47 you wrote: “A+ shares with every dogma I know considerably more social pressure to agree with its tenets than reason to support those beliefs as derived from a common philosophy.”)

    I don’t see the contradiction. A+ members may not necessarily be dogmatic, and the agenda might not have been arrived at dogmatically, but that doesn’t mean there is not pressure to believe in it dogmatically or to have a disagreement framed dogmatically.

    But your declaration claimed every dogma you know “shares considerably more social pressure to agree with its tenets than reason to support those beliefs as derived from a common philosophy”, so you are making an inductive claim on the basis of something belonging to that category rather than its specific instantiation; note you earlier claimed (#241) the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be dogma except for claims such as that people are born equal*, your position, to be consistent, should include critiquing Human Rights advocates for their dogmatic approach if dogmatism is what is problematic to you.

    (Or, what SallyStrange wrote @251)

    * which presumably you don’t consider dogmatic because—leaving aside that you don’t consider yourself a dogmatist—apparently, you find that an intuitively obvious truth; note that is precisely one of the principles of A+, though you did not except it in relation to A+ as you did in relation to the UDHR.

  228. Reality_based_community says

    S Strang

    Why, then, object to people objecting to Jaclynn Glenn spreading anti-feminist lies about feminism?

    As I”ve said above, I guess I failed to notice that she *was* attacking feminism, and certainly not feminism per se. I don’t recall that she even used the term feminism, but if she did I must have missed it (I’ll admit that I often play her video in the background while I’m doing other stuff). When I get time, I’ll review it. And I agree, she shouldn’t have called out A+ in the title of the video, that has her wading into territory about which she is completely unfamiliar. She appeared to be responding to comments sent directly to her (from A+ or elsewhere I don’t know, but I do know she gets her fair quota of rape and death threats and invective of all sorts hurled her way).

    Regarding the accusation of ableism, see my conversation (ongoing?) with Tom on this topic, about which I’m going to pen a brief response (or try to keep it fairly brief.)

  229. Reality_based_community says

    Tom @ 227

    My comment – Ted Bundy was a frickin’ sociopath, without a trace of the human capacity for empathy…a profoundly crippling mental illness (though they do seem rather successful in the corporate and political spheres).

    Tom’s Response -Do you realize that you have just proven my point here? Yes, we have one prominent example of a person who had a mental illness and committed violent crimes. But in the very same sentence, you note that other people with the same disorder live successful lives without committing violent crimes. So sociopathy alone is not a predictor of violent crime, and violent crime alone cannot determine whether a person is sociopathic.

    I don’t see the two statements as contradictory. Sociopaths are quite adept at manipulating people, and using others as objects for their own gain. Supposedly also they can be superficially charming and some have said even charismatic (as has been said by many about Ted Bundy, though I certainly do see it). So it’s no surprise that such persons can rise to the top of hierarchical systems of power and control fairly adeptly. It’s pretty much a required “skill set” within those contexts, and without the restraint of empathy and compassion, such persons are able and willing to commit acts that most of us aren’t. Perhaps those people live “successful lives” by the culturally predominant criteria of accumulating wealth and power, but that certainly is not my definition of success.

    Also, I don’t disagree that the contention that the condition is by itself a good predictor of crime. That is obviously, and perhaps even trivially true. People commit violent acts for all sorts of motives, ranging from economic gain to toxic religious or ideological beliefs. That fact alone doesn’t rebut any argument I’m making. Nor does that fact that the vast majority of individuals with the condition commit no violent criminal acts (they’re are not as portrayed in popular show Dexter). The primary question is whether such individuals are overrepresented among very *particular* types of violent acts, and whether one can reasonable infer that the condition contributed causally to those acts.

    As an aside, the condition does appear in the DSM, I believe under the label “antisocial personality disorder.”

    Anyway, I fear we’ve both strayed pretty far afield from the original topic, namely the ableism or appropriateness of JG’s video. You argue that in the absence of hard clinical evidence or a formal diagnosis, people aren’t allowed to make inferences on the evidence that is available. Elliot is dead, we won’t ever have hard clinical evidence one way or the other. But why does a person who wants to broach the subject have the burden of proof here? We aren’t adjudicating this within a court of law. It’s just being discussed. It’s also quite plausible, and I personally think more likely than not. Neither of us will ever know for certain, of course, but I certainly don’t think that fact precludes a discussion, or that just discussing it justifies the epitaph of “ableist.”

  230. says

    @Jack Stone:

    Well the only other place I’ve seen this issue discussed was YouTube. There are some harsh comments sure, but not nearly the sorts you describe.

    You’ve…never seen abusive comments on YouTube? I went to Rebecca Watson’s most recent video, published two days ago, and even in a comment thread where the commenters are remarking how unusually pleasant the thread is, there’s one comment calling her a “man hater,” another saying “Men are better than woman, accept it,” and several making creepy, inappropriate comments about her appearance. It’s a far sight from The Page O’ Hate, but, well, give it time.

    Regardless, this is further evidence that you’ve been completely insulated from a lot of what goes on in these communities, making your authoritative pronouncements about said communities sound absurd and counterfactual. Because they are.

    Also, even if statements in the constitution are dogmatic, the relevant point as to whether their application is dogmatic is in whether the system that can amend it is biased (and of course the judiciary as already stated).

    More and more, it’s looking like your problem with “dogma” is a very narrow one, and not at all specific to or characteristic of Atheism+.

    Atheism has no set of principles. Atheists do not necessarily arrive at atheism for the same reasons. So there is not requirement for a common philosophy. Also, any social pressure does not derive from the fact atheists don’t believe in god. It may be created by other atheists they may or may not choose to be associated with.

    Right, atheism has no set of principles. Organized atheists–Movement Atheism, if you prefer–does indeed have a set of principles, like belief in the separation of church and state, promotion of science and secularism, and forming groups, communities, and events to reach out and talk about issues of importance to atheists. None of these principles derives from atheism, but they are promoted and enforced by Movement Atheism through social pressures.

    I wish I’d twigged to your equivocation here earlier, between “atheism” as the lack of belief in gods and “atheism” as the affiliation of people who are atheists. With clear definitions, can you accept that Atheism+ and Movement Atheism are both dogmatic by your standards?

    They are easily available for argument by anyone who disagrees. They can be derived from induction and causation.

    Great, please show a derivation of an inalienable right.

    Before you get on that, though, can you explain how a moment ago you were against “dogmatic application” of statements in the Constitution, but earlier you lauded a system where “anything that can be reasoned to oppose inalienable rights can be rejected”? If any law opposing the inalienable rights can be rejected without re-litigating and re-deriving the inalienable rights, isn’t that a dogmatic application?

    And if not, how is it different from feminists moving forward with their goals without feeling the need or desire to renegotiate basic values every time someone raises a frequently-answered objection?

    No, merely that if the goals are assumed as more than opinion then there is the requirement to avoid being dogmatic.

    Why is there that requirement? Who enforces that requirement? Is that requirement enforced through social pressure? Is that requirement binding?

    I briefly argued for it. I would have elaborated if anyone questioned me on it.

    It was mostly a rhetorical question, because I read your initial posts in that thread: you did not offer evidence or reasoning to support your claim, only the claim and some related possibilities. I’ll also note that the way you stated it sure made it seem like it was more than opinion, and yet you made no effort to avoid being dogmatic.

    But more to the point, in a forum that prides reason and evidence, and that has been dealing with these topics for years, perhaps opening with the explanation rather than assuming your conclusion would have led to more fruitful debate. Given how frequently I’ve seen that same ‘focusing on symptoms won’t help the root cause’-style logic discussed and responded to in feminist circles, I doubt it.

    In the case of “Tone trolling” the distraction was created by the insults.

    No, it wasn’t. The thread seems to have been moving along quite swimmingly despite the insults. You’re the one who derailed the actual conversation by making Pharyngula commenters’ insults the focus, rather than the actual topic at hand. In other words, the insults distracted you, but you assumed that the problem was everyone else, who was not distracted in that way.

    You put to them the question “does anyone expect that their opponents will see the light and only return with their spelling and grammar corrected, and in acknowledgment of such obvious virtues?” Do you really think that you’re the first person to bring up the topic of insults in the Pharyngula comments? Did you really expect that your condescension would make the commentariat see the light and return with their language properly bowdlerized, and in acknowledgement of such obvious virtues? Did you seriously chastize people’s use of language in chastizing people’s use of language?

    The topic of insults has been discussed on Pharyngula before. In actuality, a lot of thought has gone into their use. If you do not like the tone at Pharyngula, if you think it is antithetical to the goals of the Pharyngula commentariat, then chances are good that Pharyngula is not the forum for you.

    Facts and misconceptions about perceptions, untrue: show me where I have done this, refuted, and refuted, although you didn’t even wait for me to respond.

    Holy Jesus, you certainly find the way to most obtuse way to respond to things.

    You are ignorant of the abuse directed at Atheism+-aligned individuals by the anti-A+ crowd (and more generally against feminists by anti-feminists).

    You parroted the common misconceptions that the values of Atheism+ were determined dogmatically, that Atheism+ has demands of allegiance, that Atheism+ isn’t presented as a club with which people can associate of their own free will, that Atheism+ proponents claim that their values derive only from atheism, and that Richard Carrier’s initial comments, which even he walked back, are representative of Atheism+ in general.

    Your argument at Pharyngula, and much of your argument here, has been based on assertions. In fact, in only two instances have you provided anything resembling evidence to support any of your points, and one was in support of the Richard Carrier myth, which is so common as to receive mention on the A+ FAQ page.

    You have asserted that abusive comments, “as far as you know” may have been cherry-picked rather than representative, and have repeatedly said that you have not seen them. If you intended these comments to be somehow relevant to the debate rather than a statement of your own lack of qualification to participate in it, then they constitute an argument from ignorance.

    Continuing to imply that Atheism+ is dogmatic, and that this represents a problem, while making excuses and caveats for other systems which fit under that definition of dogma, and accepting the availability heuristic that your experience at Pharyngula is a representative example of the bad behavior characteristic of Atheism+ but refusing to accept that the bad behavior of anti-feminists which you have not experienced may also be characteristic, both constitute untenable double-standards.

    And I have waited for you to respond. Several times now. You have yet to correct any of those problems.

    The attacks are wrong. The people who write them may very well be dogmatic, but I have no control over them.

    Are you fucking serious? What, do think you have control of Atheism+? Why single out one set of atheists that you think are dogmatic, and let another one pass because you “have no control over them”? Chalk up another untenable double standard.

    Whether are not it is aberrant, what point are you trying to make?

    Again, are you fucking serious? You have argued that your treatment in the Pharyngula comments is representative of how Atheism+ proponents behave generally, but it’s not even representative of how Pharyngula’s commenters are expected to behave, and typically do.

    Well, I elaborated in my reply to Dave. But I could just brush off your claim of incoherency as incoherent. There, now I’m the arbiter of all reason.

    Yes, it’s been clear that you think of yourself that way since your comment at Pharyngula.

    A+ members may not necessarily be dogmatic, and the agenda might not have been arrived at dogmatically, but that doesn’t mean there is not pressure to believe in it dogmatically or to have a disagreement framed dogmatically. Many religious beliefs might not be arrived at dogmatically, and they might not be believed dogmatically. Even if someone references their emotional relationship with god, it can be contingent on actual experience and intuition. So, then what is dogma? Only factual claims without evidence?

    Yes, “what is dogma” is kind of the key question here, and you’re trying to have it multiple ways. Either dogma is a bad thing that organizations with goals are required to avoid, or it is a word so broad in meaning that it encompasses clubs, countries, and any other organization which works to achieve goals and does not state those goals as mere opinion. If it is the former, then it must be defined more narrowly, if it is the latter it must not be so bad.

    And we’ve also reached a point where you admit that A+ members may not be dogmatic, and the agenda may not have been arrived at dogmatically, but have moved the goalposts continue to assert that there is some social pressure to believe in it dogmatically, an assertion for which you have not provided any supporting evidence. You’re right, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a pressure to believe in the A+ agenda dogmatically, but it also doesn’t mean that there is, and you have yet to demonstrate that that’s the case. Burden of proof’s in your court, Jack.

  231. says

    @R_b_c:

    As I”ve said above, I guess I failed to notice that she *was* attacking feminism, and certainly not feminism per se.

    The first paragraph of the tagline of the video, which apparently you still have not read in its entirety:

    A video about Atheism+ and pussies. How appropriate. For those of you wondering- Atheism + is pretty much atheism plus radical feminism. This is my skit explaining my feelings on it ;)

    She appeared to be responding to comments sent directly to her (from A+ or elsewhere I don’t know, but I do know she gets her fair quota of rape and death threats and invective of all sorts hurled her way).

    I’m gonna go way out on a limb and suggest that since A+ formed largely in response to the rape and death threats hurled at feminist women in the atheist and skeptic communities, and in shared opposition to such tactics, that they probably didn’t come from the A+ crowd. I’d be willing to change my mind, given evidence.

    The primary question is whether such individuals are overrepresented among very *particular* types of violent acts, and whether one can reasonable infer that the condition contributed causally to those acts.

    In order to answer the latter, you would have to demonstrate the former. Your continued assertion that we must consider the role mental illness played in Rodger’s rampage is bootstrapping; since you have not shown that sociopathic/psychopathic individuals are overrepresented in mass murders, and since you have not shown that Elliot Rodger was a sociopathic/psychopathic individual, you cannot reasonably infer that the condition contributed in any fashion causally or not, to his actions.

    As an aside, the condition does appear in the DSM, I believe under the label “antisocial personality disorder.”

    From the comment–from the same damn paragraph!–to which you are replying:

    In fact, “sociopathy” is not a diagnosis. It, and “psychopathy” are not in the DSM-V, and distinctions between the terms are fuzzy at best. They’re classified as personality disorders, related to Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathic Personality Disorder, and there is contention so to whether or not personality disorders qualify as mental illness.

    R_b_c, I have read every word of every one of your comments to me. If you cannot return that courtesy, do not bother responding.

    You argue that in the absence of hard clinical evidence or a formal diagnosis, people aren’t allowed to make inferences on the evidence that is available.

    No, I am arguing just the opposite: that we can only make inferences based on the evidence that is available. We do not have evidence that Elliot Rodger had any specific mental illness or personality disorder. We do not have evidence that any specific mental illness or personality disorder is causally linked to mass murder. We do not have evidence that any particular kind of mass murder is more likely to be committed by someone with a particular mental illness or personality disorder. We do not have evidence that you can diagnose a person based on their commission of mass murder. Given all this, we cannot reasonably infer that mental illness played any role in Elliot Rodger’s actions.

    We can, however, reasonably infer that misogyny played a role in Elliot Rodger’s actions. Why on Earth would we discard a partial explanation for which there is a mountain of evidence in favor of an explanation for which there is no evidence?

    And why, absent any evidence to support it, do you insist that mental illness (or personality disorders) played a role in Elliot Rodger’s murders, and not the infinite number of other possible factors for which we have no evidence? Why not insist that we examine the role of alcohol abuse or drug abuse or violent media consumption in Rodger’s actions?

    It’s also quite plausible, and I personally think more likely than not. Neither of us will ever know for certain, of course, but I certainly don’t think that fact precludes a discussion, or that just discussing it justifies the epitaph of “ableist.”

    If you were arguing that, given the available evidence, we could reasonably infer that he had some black ancestry, that we should be willing to examine the role of blackness in mass shootings, that there are examples of other black mass murderers, that you’re not saying black people are more likely to be mass murderers or mass murderers are more likely to be black but that there’s a question as to whether or not black people are overrepresented among mass murderers and if there’s a causal connection, and so forth, we’d recognize it immediately as racism. Why does the logic suddenly become more acceptable when we’re making the same fact-free speculations about mental illness?

  232. Tessa says

    Reality Based Community #254

    Also, I don’t disagree that the contention that the condition is by itself a good predictor of crime. That is obviously, and perhaps even trivially true. People commit violent acts for all sorts of motives, ranging from economic gain to toxic religious or ideological beliefs. That fact alone doesn’t rebut any argument I’m making. Nor does that fact that the vast majority of individuals with the condition commit no violent criminal acts (they’re are not as portrayed in popular show Dexter). The primary question is whether such individuals are overrepresented among very *particular* types of violent acts, and whether one can reasonable infer that the condition contributed causally to those acts.

    As an aside, the condition does appear in the DSM, I believe under the label “antisocial personality disorder.”

    Anyway, I fear we’ve both strayed pretty far afield from the original topic, namely the ableism or appropriateness of JG’s video. You argue that in the absence of hard clinical evidence or a formal diagnosis, people aren’t allowed to make inferences on the evidence that is available. Elliot is dead, we won’t ever have hard clinical evidence one way or the other. But why does a person who wants to broach the subject have the burden of proof here? We aren’t adjudicating this within a court of law. It’s just being discussed. It’s also quite plausible, and I personally think more likely than not. Neither of us will ever know for certain, of course, but I certainly don’t think that fact precludes a discussion, or that just discussing it justifies the epitaph of “ableist.”

    “But why does a person who wants to broach the subject have the burden of proof here?”
    Really? Are you an atheist?

    But the thing is, what is your evidence that he did have a mental illness? All I’ve seen earlier is that you find it hard to believe that a non-mentally ill person would do that. Is it anything more than that? If there is more, then what is it? If your only argument is one from incredulity, then it is a bit ableist.

  233. Reality_based_community says

    Tom

    We do not have evidence that any specific mental illness or personality disorder is causally linked to mass murder

    John, this statement is just dead wrong. Unequivocally wrong. There is abundant evidence of an association between mental illness and some types of violence. And prevalent among those crimes are indiscriminate mass shootings. And denial of that fact just further hinders appropriate interventions from helping such persons, and possibly prevent acts of violence. So you can assert that making such a connection is just “ableism,” and bigotry, but that attitude just contributes to the problem. After making progress, we reached a low point in terms of delivering mental health in the 80s. Some progress has been made since then, but very modest at best. Many mentally ill now just wind up homeless or chucked away to rot in prison (and the mentally ill are very significantly overrepresented in the prison population).

    And just one example of the link between mental illness and this particular type of violence, follow this link. Since mass shoots are pretty rare, in no sense do they constitute a significant proportion of murders, the vast majority of which are committed for economic reasons. However, this appears to be some evidence of “overrepresentation” (not of sociopathy, which I didn’t claim, but of some form of mental illness).

    “Analysis conducted by the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange (CFIX) has found that 79% of mass shootings since 2011 have been perpetrated by individuals with “demonstrated signs of continuous behavioral health issues and mental illness.” ”

    http://publicintelligence.net/mass-shootings-mental-illness/

  234. John Morales says

    [meta + OT]

    Reality_based_community @259, I am not Tom Foss (to whom I doff my hat in awe, because @256 was a thing of awesomeness (and no it was not about you therein)).

    (To be pedantic)

    Parenthetically yours, John.

  235. Reality_based_community says

    Tom

    I’m gonna go way out on a limb and suggest that since A+ formed largely in response to the rape and death threats hurled at feminist women in the atheist and skeptic communities, and in shared opposition to such tactics, that they probably didn’t come from the A+ crowd. I’d be willing to change my mind, given evidence.

    And while this is somewhat tangential (admittedly a tangent I started), it’s worth responding to. No, I seriously doubt JG received threats of violence from A+ folks. But I have no doubt that she received a considerable amount of gratuitous invective.

  236. John Morales says

    [meta]

    RBC @261,

    [...] gratuitous invective [...]

    Not unsurprisingly, yet again the fundamental attribution error comfortably accounts for your perception.

    (There is induction, there is deduction, and there is abduction)

  237. Reality_based_community says

    “But why does a person who wants to broach the subject have the burden of proof here?”
    Really? Are you an atheist?

    But the thing is, what is your evidence that he did have a mental illness? All I’ve seen earlier is that you find it hard to believe that a non-mentally ill person would do that. Is it anything more than that? If there is more, then what is it? If your only argument is one from incredulity, then it is a bit ableist.

    re burden of proof. Because it’s not an extraordinary claim about which there is no prior evidence. There is abundant evidence re the role of mental illness in mass shootings. See the most recent response to Tom. And his long rambling incoherent disjointed video, that is just a catalog of every perceived sleight he’s received in his life, his unwarranted sense of persecution, his overt expressions of entitlement, and many other elements of that video strike me as coming from somebody suffering from a serious mental illness. No, a formal diagnosis can’t be made from a video, and abnormal psychology is well outside any expertise I have (is it still called that? I suspect not…it’s seems a little pejorative). But it strikes me as expressing all the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. But if the video doesn’t constitute clinical evidence, it’s still some evidence.

  238. says

    John, this statement is just dead wrong. Unequivocally wrong. There is abundant evidence of an association between mental illness and some types of violence. And prevalent among those crimes are indiscriminate mass shootings.

    My name is not John.

    If there is abundant evidence, it’d be nice if you cited it. You found a link to support your claim, and that’s laudable. It’s a shame you didn’t bother vetting it first. The study you provided is not a study of the causes of mass shootings, but of “violence toward healthcare and emergency responders.” The part about mass shootings takes up one paragraph and one chart in the study. It is a survey of 14 cases, with no indication about methodology for choosing the cases or collecting the information, except that they all occurred in the same 28-month period. For nine of the cases deemed positive, we are given no other information beyond the excessively-broad phrase “mental illness,” in one specifically it’s noted that the claim comes not from psychiatrists but from the killer’s family. A tenth has the even more vague phrase “mental issues.”

    At best you’ve identified a correlation, but without description of methodology, we have no idea what other confounding factors there are. 100% of these shooters are male, but you (and the study authors) strangely aren’t arguing that masculinity is a causal factor in violent crime. I’d argue that without specific diagnostic information, we can’t know if any of these “mental illness[es]” were ones that increased risk factors for violence. There are lots of mental illnesses that have no plausible connection to violence.

    But I don’t need to argue that, because better evidence is available. An actual study, carried out specifically to explore adolescent mass murderers, one with over twice the sample size of the one you linked to, found a history of mental illness in only 23% of perpetrators. They also found (I’m sensing a theme) that a majority of the killers abused drugs and alcohol. This fits not only with what I cited above about violence and schizophrenia, but more general research about violence and mental illness, which shows that mental illness alone is rarely a cause of violent behavior, but can be a contributing factor when combined with substance abuse, which is a contributing factor to increased violence among those without mental illness as well.

    The abstract does cite (nonspecifically) depressive symptoms and antisocial behaviors, but gives no indication as to percentage in either case, or clinical diagnosis. Naturally, adolescents are less likely to have seen psychiatrists just due to time they’ve been alive, so that’s certainly going to be a factor as well. It’s possible that some of these killers had mental illnesses that had not yet been diagnosed. It’s just as plausible that they did not.

    Even if we accept that the studies are equally valid, what we have is an issue where research is mixed. At best, we can say that some mass murderers have histories of mental illness, and some do not. All of the ones cited in both studies, however, were male. So we can reasonably infer that being male is a causal factor in committing mass murder.

    So you can assert that making such a connection is just “ableism,” and bigotry, but that attitude just contributes to the problem.

    Yes, assuming that mentally ill people are, as the evidence says, far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators, just contributes to the problem. Concluding absent any specific diagnosis that mass murderers are more likely than not to be mentally ill in some causal way or another, that’s going to remove the stigma right quick.

    And blaming mental illness for crimes so we don’t have to deal with the issue of hate, even though “hate crime” is one of the exceptions to the mental illness finding in your study, even though Elliot Rodger’s manifesto showed hatred toward women the way Mein Kampf showed hatred toward Jews, is totes going to prevent more Elliot Rodgers from popping up.

    However, this appears to be some evidence of “overrepresentation” (not of sociopathy, which I didn’t claim, but of some form of mental illness).

    You used sociopathy as your example, and it’s one of the few specific mental illness claims you’ve made. The issue here is that “mental illness” is a broad term, and at least 1/3 of people qualify for some kind of mental illness in their lifetimes. But I don’t think you’re seriously suggesting that anorexia or narcolepsy or Tourette syndrome or autism are causal factors in mass murders. The vast majority of possible mental illness diagnoses have no plausible link to violence, yet you (and the study you cited) insist on using the vaguest possible term. Could it be because the broader the term you use, the bigger the statistics become?

  239. Reality_based_community says

    John

    Not unsurprisingly, yet again the fundamental attribution error comfortably accounts for your perception.

    I’m still not entirely sure of your meaning here. I understand the “fundamental attribution error.” I just don’t understand the point you making.

    I understand you believe that invective is merited as directed at JG (is that the point here?). That her video *deserves* abusive correspondence? But even if you believe so, I would ask, is it the most helpful and productive response? I understand that civility and the ability to disagree without being disagreeable are undervalued attributes these days. But if ones hope is to build bridges and engage in dialog, then that surely won’t further your goal. If that’s not your goal, and you’ve just written JG off as somebody that’s irredeemable, well….then such an approach makes little sense either. Why bother with any communication, if that’s the case? Just venting?

  240. John Morales says

    RBC @264, note Tom’s reference to the availability heuristic @256 above.

    Do you find that equally problematic?

    I understand you believe that invective is merited as directed at JG [...]

    You might as well have stopped there, because that is not my belief.

  241. says

    But it strikes me as expressing all the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia.

    Really? That leads me to believe you’ve never seen video of someone with paranoid schizophrenia. It leads me to believe you don’t know the symptoms of schizophrenia or other issues that can look like that disorder. It leads me to believe you’ve never read what paranoid schizophrenics have to say. It leads me to believe that you get your information about mental illness from TV and movies, not from actual evidence.

  242. Reality_based_community says

    You might as well have stopped there, because that is not my belief.

    Good. Then we agree. Re @256, I haven’t been following that discussion. And just a suggestion (which I’m pretty sure is unwanted, but it’s a valid suggestion) – I you are trying to convey ideas of any complexity, the single sentence limited-character twitter-style haiku format isn’t the best way to do it. “The winds of Mt. Fuji, I have brought my fan.” I often don’t understand what the hell you are trying to say. But I could be, as I’m sure you’ll be first to suggest, due to my diminished intellectual capacity.

  243. John Morales says

    [meta + OT]]

    RBC @266,

    I often don’t understand what the hell you are trying to say. But I could be, as I’m sure you’ll be first to suggest, due to my diminished intellectual capacity.

    I recall that, back in @229, you deprecated posting about positioning and dick measuring and dominance.

    I assure you that if you’re familiar with certain cognitive flaws and, having (intellectually honestly) considered your opinions with those in mind determine that they are yet warranted, I could not possibly fault you.

    (How much warrant do you allocate to their gratuitousness?)

  244. Reality_based_community says

    John, I’m just saying that the entirety of a comment is just a reference to some psychological principle or logical construct or some such, without any explanation re how you believe it applies in the particular instance you are addressing, then you really aren’t saying very much and leave much to the reader’s interpretation. It almost comes across as a little passive aggressive.

    We all, surely, owe it to those of whom we ask their time a little explanation clarifying what we’re trying to say. I usually try to be brief, but brevity should be weighed against clarity. Otherwise, you are just inviting misunderstanding.

  245. John Morales says

    [very meta and very OT]

    Fine, RBC. Let me be less oblique.

    You wrote “They were just gratuitous insults apropos of nothing.” in relation to (at least some) responses to you.

    Again: How much warrant do you allocate to their gratuitousness?

    Are you comfortable that you possess sufficient information at hand that you can make a warranted determination, or is it a tentative one based just on unexamined impressions?

    Are you comfortable, after consideration, that you are not indulging in one of many possible cognitive biases in making your determination?

    If so, kudos, but it invites the question: if you can adduce instances substantiating your opinion other than those that require inference, why have you hitherto failed to do so?

    (I also recall your justification of the claim that you were accused of “being racist and misogynist”, and that I found it less than convincing)

  246. Reality_based_community says

    John

    Are you comfortable that you possess sufficient information at hand that you can make a warranted determination, or is it a tentative one based just on unexamined impressions?

    Yes, I feel warranted in my belief. Some responses I may very well have misinterpreted, and I’m not too proud to admit it. But that vast avalanche of invective, the attribution to me of beliefs that can’t reasonably be inferred from anything I said, and that are indeed simply contrary to very strongly held beliefs I do hold, was not warranted. But I don’t hold grudges for very long. I”m quite willing to make amends where I was in error and my own reaction was not proportionate to the provocation, or even if they were just weren’t productive.

    I have a long experience on the intertubes, and I’ve witnessed many many flamiest flaming category 5 flame wars flare up without warning and no apparent reason. It started back on the old (ancient?) Usenet groups. I have no desire to contribute to anything like that.

  247. John Morales says

    RBC @270, I’ve already alluded to the question your response invites. ;)

    (Do you have a response to it?)

  248. Reality_based_community says

    And Elliot’s history is at least some evidence that assessment is not so far-fetched.

    “His parents did everything they could to help him. It seemed that Elliot suffered from extreme paranoia and heard voices, but it was impossible to properly diagnose because he just wouldn’t talk. Having been prescribed psychiatric medication, Elliot refused to take it.”

    http://radaronline.com/exclusives/2014/05/ucsb-mass-shooter-refused-psychiatric-medicines-parents-in-hiding/

  249. says

    Congratulations, R_b_c, you found a claim to schizophrenic symptoms on a gossip site staffed by reporters from the National Enquirer and with a history of misleading claims. Any port in a storm when it comes to supporting your contention, right?

    We’d known all along that Rodger had been seeing therapists of one form or another for years. He was also prescribed a drug used for schizophrenics, as well as bipolar disorder and other disorders, but refused to take it. So yes, it’s likely he had a mental illness.

    What mental illness he had, and whether or not it was a causal factor in his shooting? That has yet to be established.

    He was also bullied, and had a history of violent outbursts (including a precipitating incident at a party), both of which are more highly correlated with mass murder than mental illness. As is, again, his gender. Why on Earth do you continue to focus on the one factor that has the most dubious connection to violence?

  250. says

    What, precisely, do you know about the lies that anti-feminists spread about feminism, r_b_c?

    I’m guessing “not a lot.”

    Otherwise you would have noticed the same thing that those of us who are well-versed in the typical tactics and talking points of both feminism and its opponents did: Ms. Glenn repeats several anti-feminist tropes about feminism. For example, in her header, where she characterizes Atheism+ as being atheism plus radical feminism. She’s wrong. Radical feminism is a movement that has been around for several decades and overlaps but is not really the same thing as the (approximately) 4th wave feminism embraced by most people identifying as A+. Which is really quite mainstream in the context of contemporary overall feminism. However, the opponents of feminism have, again, for decades, been conflating radical feminism with mainstream feminism or just feminism in general and using that to discredit the latter (because usually people have negative associations with “radical feminism”).

    That’s just for starters.

    Richard Carrier demonstrates several other anti-feminist lies and mispprehensions that made it into her videos, and she seems quite unaware that she does not have accurate information.

    Now. Have you decided that I’m not a troll? If so, an apology for accusing me of trolling would be warranted, as would be an explanation of what led you to be so egregiously wrong in the first place. It’s not like that one sentence I wrote with the word “troll” in it was THAT difficult to parse.

  251. says

    And, if you are just now figuring out at this late date, after several days and a few hundred comments, that one of the specific complaints people have about Ms. Glenn’s position is that she is repeating lies and tropes about feminism that have their source in dishonest tactics used by anti-feminists, what on earth have you been doing all this time? Have you been paying any attention at all? Are you actually reading the things people write? Your incompetence at interpreting my statement about my emotional state (where I characterized my EMOTIONS as trollish, not my posts), suggests that, for all the time you’ve spent writing responses to me and others, you’re not really fully absorbing the meaning of what others write.

    Might want to look into that–especially if you’re about to scold people for saying mean things without any good reason (at least, YOU can’t see the reasons). Which is basically how you started off in this thread.

  252. Reality_based_community says

    Sigh…Tom, we have probably reached the logical conclusion of this discussion (not that I”m trying to prematurely end it…I’ll certainly read any follow-ups you post). You contend that while all three of the recent mass shooters we discussed were apparently suffering from profound levels of mental illness, and exactly the class of mental illnesses that are massively overrepresented in these exact type of events, that there is absolutely no evidence that the conditions in any way contributed to or caused their actions. I find that position rather incredible.

    I’ve already presented evidence of the extremely strong correlation between mass shooters and a history of serious mental illness. They are overrepresented among perps of this type of crime by many many orders of magnitude. The correlation itself is rather strong evidence , and there is voluminous evidence in the academic literature, and among practicing profilers and the like, that the correlation isn’t incidental or spurious (not implying that correlation = causation, but of course it is strong evidence once other factors have been ruled out, such as the correlation between smoking and cancer risk).

    I really fail to understand what is to be gained by denying what appears somewhat obvious. If we want to deny the connection, and don’t want to develop more effective tools to identify such persons, spend additional resources to deliver appropriate health care, conduct much more research into study of the relationship, feel we can’t talk about it because it might stigmatize the mentally ill in general, and in extreme cases aren’t willing to temporarily involuntarily confine or otherwise restrict the freedom of individuals that appear to have a high likelihood of violence (a process which is governed by strict due process procedures and burden of proof), then lets just accept two or three or more mass shootings every year and right it off as collateral damage to other priorities. Let’s just throw up our hands and with fatalism just stop worrying about it or even talking about it. What’ the point? Because if you deny a fundamental contributing factor to these incidents, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to address them in any meaningful manner (I’d offer meaningful gun reform as an alternative, but I think we both know that’s never going to happen in the US, at least not in our lifetimes).

  253. Reality_based_community says

    Sally, my apologies. Sometimes it is much more difficult to interpret peoples’ meanings upon first meeting and without any historical context to serve as a cue – and which I’ll assert was more than reciprocated back at me. That task is more difficult in a purely text based medium, without the cues of body language, tone of voice, or other cues that are important to properly interpreting an individual’s meaning and motive. I should have been more cognizant of that fact. I realize coming into a new group you don’t know me from proverbial Steve..I could be MRA, klan, from the cesspool (wait, what is it called? SlimePit, though possibly with alternative spelling), the He-Man Woman Haters Club, or any other such group.

    Re JG, I’ve always interpreted her as rather whimsical and not mean spirited. Quite the opposite. Rereading her most recent posts, though, makes me think perhaps you folks have a point (perhaps because I had already formed an opinion that she was “harmless,” it was a context that made me less sensitive to those recent posts). She seems to be heading in a new direction, which I hope doesn’t bode ill for the future. As a deconverted, she should be encouraged to share that experience with others. It’s helpful to others going through the experience and perhaps being ostracized from their families and communities (which is alarmingly common and about which JG does have some on point videos). I think we need more people to speak out about that, and help others along the way that are currently experiencing the same thing. I happen to think she does has significant redeeming characteristics that far outweigh anything inappropriate she may have done, and if A+ feels attacked, perhaps those folks can reach out to her in a civil manner and offer an explanation to her. I’d really suspect she’d listen. Who knows, while shes just doing a sort of schtick on YouTube now, she has the potential to mature into a strong asset for the movement. Or is that just wishful thinking?

  254. says

    lets just accept two or three or more mass shootings every year and right it off as collateral damage to other priorities

    There’s no need to be gross.

    And that apology? Not forthcoming, I guess?

  255. says

    You contend that while all three of the recent mass shooters we discussed were apparently suffering from profound levels of mental illness, and exactly the class of mental illnesses that are massively overrepresented in these exact type of events, that there is absolutely no evidence that the conditions in any way contributed to or caused their actions. I find that position rather incredible.

    I also find that position rather incredible, since it is neither the one I hold nor the one I have made in this thread. I’m also tired of this conversation, but mostly because of your apparent inability, both in talking to me and others throughout this thread, of reading and characterizing without hyperbole the things people have said to you.

    I’ve already presented evidence of the extremely strong correlation between mass shooters and a history of serious mental illness.

    And I’ve presented evidence which shows precisely the opposite, as well as points that your evidence is not as strong as you think it is.

    and there is voluminous evidence in the academic literature,

    I admit I don’t have access to all the major journal databases, but I was not able to find “voluminous evidence” in the databases I searched. I found lots of psychiatrists saying that most mentally ill people are not violent and most violence is not committed by the mentally ill, I found several people citing the study I linked, and I found several studies looking into how the media consistently portrays acts of violence as stemming from mental illness. If there’s “voluminous evidence” on this topic, perhaps you can link something more convincing than a study that was not about mass murder and mental illness and included no information about its methodology.

    temporarily involuntarily confine or otherwise restrict the freedom of individuals that appear to have a high likelihood of violence

    I agree. We should target people who have a high likelihood of violence, and conduct interventions. What I have said all along, what I have consistently cited from researchers and experts, is that “mental illness” is not a strong predictor of future violence. In fact, I couldn’t find any specific mental illness that, on its own, was correlated to violent acts of any sort except Intermittent Explosive Disorder, which is characterized by extreme anger. Instead, certain mental illnesses were correlated with violence in combination with other factors, like drug and alcohol abuse, like bullying and a history of violent acts, like feeling wronged in some specific way, like being a loner, like having access to firearms, like (apparently) being male. What I do not understand is taking only one of those factors, one with a lower correlation to violence than others, expanding that factor to its broadest possible definition, and citing it as the main issue. Throughout this, you have argued that we “shouldn’t minimize” the role of mental illness in violent crimes, and yet you have been minimizing the role of every other issue, particularly hate, but you have not mentioned alcohol or drug abuse or bullying or past violent incidents, all factors that correlate more strongly with violence, and even mass murder, than mental illness.

    Yes, let’s address the factors. Let’s not, however, scapegoat one factor in such a way that adds to the stigma already faced by a marginalized group. Despite your insistence, that does nobody any good.

  256. Reality_based_community says

    Tom

    “mental illness” is not a strong predictor of future violence.

    I have no disagreement with that statement. Of course mental illness bears a very low correlation to the probability of future violence. Mass shootings are so rare in the context of the overall population, that of course the variables “having a mental illness” and “future probability of mass shooting” couldn’t possibly possess any kind of statistical correlation.

    However, what you seem to be missing is a different correlation. There is an extremely strong correlation between the variables “having committed a random mass shooting in the US” and “having a history of serious mental illness, and a specific class of mental illness.” I think the difference between those two sets of correlations, and the implications of each, may be why we are having difficulty communicating and are talking past each other in some respects.

  257. maddog1129 says

    @ RBC #278

    Because if you deny a fundamental contributing factor to these incidents, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to address them in any meaningful manner

    Yes, and the fundamental contributing factor to Elliot Rodger’s murder spree was his hatred of women, and of the men they seemingly favored over himself. He said so explicitly, and wrote a manifesto to the same effect. Pointing instead to “mental illness, mental illness, mental illness” is a species of “deny[ing] a fundamental contributing factor to [the] incidents,” and makes it much more “unlikely that you’ll be able to address them in any meaningful manner.”

  258. Reality_based_community says

    Maddog

    Yes, and the fundamental contributing factor to Elliot Rodger’s murder spree was his hatred of women,

    This was thoroughly discussed in prior comments between Tom and I. I disagree. If anything, his wildly irrational and violent hatred of women, among the many other things he hated (the smug attitude of his roommates, for example, the way they looked and the sound of their voices, etc) was symptomatic of the underlying mental illness. I don’t understand the importance of the narrative you are advancing. It really doesn’t sound very plausible.

    Obviously, any serious mental illness will play out within the context of the dominant culture, which will influence the objects of one’s hatreds and insecurities and paranoid delusions. So prominent cultural attitudes may very well have turned the irrational rage towards a fixation on women. I’ll grant that. In fact, that’s a rather important matter if this case is ever to be investigated further. But the mental illness I think was the antecedent condition and the root cause of the violence. The object of violence could very well have been the illuminati, reptilian shape-shifters, or any number of other bizarre fixations depending on what circles he ran in. Absence the serious mental illness, I suspect he’d just be making ranting phone calls to Rush Limbaugh or making horribly sexist remarks on the intertubes.

  259. Reality_based_community says

    Sally

    There’s no need to be gross.

    re my comment of mass shootings. Sally, I admit I do think about how to convey my feelings towards violence; how pointed I should be to make a point. I sometimes go back and forth. Usually, though, I decide that pointed is the proper mode of expression. For example, people who unquestionably support Israel’s indiscriminate violent assault on a civilian population….I’l sometimes respond with pictures of Palestinian kids blown to pieces. Sometimes. Support the Vietnam war and declare those of us opposed to the inhumanity of it…here’s the iconic photograph of a girl, probably about 10 years old, running naked for her life with her skin peeling off from a napalm attack. I don’t do that for shock value or as a provocation. But sometimes I do think it’s not enough to intellectualize this things and talk about them as purely abstract ideas. We need to feel it in our gut…”this is what your position means.”

  260. says

    If anything, his wildly irrational and violent hatred of women, among the many other things he hated (the smug attitude of his roommates, for example, the way they looked and the sound of their voices, etc) was symptomatic of the underlying mental illness.

    Right, everything ties back to the mental illness, because when a person has a mental illness, every negative aspect of their personality is caused by the mental illness.

    Here’s the other problem with your continual, frankly ludicrous minimizing of Rodger’s misogyny: his rhetoric is frankly not that different from what you’d find on other Men’s Rights, antifeminist, and related sites. He frequented such site and used their jargon. After his death, people declared him a hero and started putting together fansites, while Men’s Rights sites were torn between praising him and blaming his actions on anything and everything but their over-the-top rhetoric.

    Rodger didn’t pick women as targets at random. His hate for women wasn’t some “CIA is reading my thoughts” delusion. It didn’t arise fully-formed in a vacuum, but was shaped and stoked by the rhetoric of the MRA/incel sites he frequented.

    Which is why we need to recognize the role misogyny–the specific, revolutionary, oppression-fantasy misogyny of the Men’s Rights crowd–played in Rodger’s motives. You’re right, most of them are keyboard warriors whose “activism” is satisfied by whining about feminazis and the coming Men’s Rights revolution. But not everyone on those forums is going to be satisfied with just typing. Some of them are going to take action, spurred on by mental illness or social problems or a lack of inhibition or a desire to become an MRA hero or martyr. These forums, where virulent misogyny is a baseline condition, where those beliefs are reinforced and rewarded, provide cover for the people in those communities who do have violent tendencies. And when the leaders talk about the evil represented by women, when they justify domestic abuse and rape, when they decry feminazis trying to take over the world and trick men through spermjacking and golddigging and so forth, is it any wonder that some of their number are going to take this as license and justification for violent action?

    Absent the mental illness, you think he’d just be making horribly sexist remarks on the intertubes. Except that he was making horribly sexist (and racist) remarks on the intertubes, remarks that didn’t raise red flags in those sections of the intertubes, because they were no different than the other sexist remarks in those places. How many more are there, given cover by mixing in with a society of virulent misogynists, working themselves up to be the next warrior in their righteous battle?

  261. Reality_based_community says

    Tom

    Absent the mental illness, you think he’d just be making horribly sexist remarks on the intertubes. Except that he was making horribly sexist (and racist) remarks on the intertubes, remarks that didn’t raise red flags in those sections of the intertubes, because they were no different than the other sexist remarks in those places. How many more are there, given cover by mixing in with a society of virulent misogynists, working themselves up to be the next warrior in their righteous battle?

    Fair point regarding a failure to raise red flags. The internet does have cesspools within which such folks seem to congregate. I don’t frequent those sites, so I can’t speak about them with any authority. But I still stand by my point. Absent the mental illness, I doubt he would have move out of those cesspools and into a real life murder rampage. As despicable as such cesspools are, they don’t rise to the latter. Unfortunately, they absolutely contributed to and are culpable in the murders.

  262. says

    As despicable as such cesspools are, they don’t rise to the latter.

    Except, you know, they did. People with a predisposition to violence are part of those cesspools too.

  263. Reality_based_community says

    Tom

    Except, you know, they did. People with a predisposition to violence are part of those cesspools too.

    Who did? Did another devotee of those sites commit mass murder? The type of act in question, mass murder / suicide, usually has all of the predictable tell-tale signs, though unfortunately such signs are usually only apparent after the fact. Aside from the more banal but still evil acts of wife beating or threats or other similar acts, who participated in a mass murder / suicide act?

  264. Reality_based_community says

    Anyway, it’s good to move on to possible solutions. One solution is to prioritize a sensitivity among mental health professionals that signs of potential violence among their patients require some sort of meaningful response. We’ve done this with respect to MDs and signs of child abuse. They can’t ignore it lest they be liable. It’s now a standard part of medical practice. It has to be reported, at a minimum. So if a patient reveals that their hatred of women has morphed into a compulsion to kill people, or they say that the neighbor’s talking dog (let’s call the dog Sam for convenience) is trying to convince them that they really ought to embark on a killing spree…the mental health professional needs to take immediate and direct action. Too often, these incidents are preceded by an abject failure of the mental health community.

  265. says

    Who did?

    For real? Elliot Rodger. He frequented men’s rights and “incel” sites, used their lingo, and justified his actions with their rhetoric. And (some) members of that movement regarded him as a hero afterward.

    Are you suggesting that he stopped being a member of these sites when he escalated from words to actions? That he never was, because mental illness somehow?

    Whatever drove him from words to action, do you really think he’s the only one in these forums with that predisposition?

  266. Reality_based_community says

    Tom – I misunderstood your point. I thought you were suggesting that persons other than Eliot committed such acts. But if it’s only Eliot, I don’t think that refutes my point.

  267. says

    Actually, it absolutely does refute your point. These cesspools don’t rise to mass violence, except in this case, where one did.

    The cesspools may not normally rise to mass violence, may not rise to mass violence without other contributing factors, but you can’t say “they don’t” as a rule or as a dismissal of their danger. Not when we know the exception to that rule. Not when even posting manifestos advocating violence isn’t entirely uncommon.

  268. Reality_based_community says

    SilentBob –

    (off topic)

    Trivia: the comment count for this thread puts the Withdrawing Room to shame. (And no end in sight!)

    (/off topic)

    haha. Well, yes. I suppose at some point we’ll end this party, blame each other for who put the cigarette burns in the carpet, spilled all the wine, and stumble out into the sun shielding our eyes wondering just who put that annoying fireball in the sky…it’s frickin’ blinding me!

  269. Reality_based_community says

    Anyway, I would be remiss if I didn’t say good to meet you. And I mean that with all sincerity. Now…perhaps it really is, as SilentBob suggested, time wind this thread down. Can some kind person give me a lift back into town? I think it’s that way….I look forward to future discussion on other threads.

  270. Jack Stone says

    Tom Foss @256

    You’ve…never seen abusive comments on YouTube? I went to Rebecca Watson’s most recent video, published two days ago, and even in a comment thread where the commenters are remarking how unusually pleasant the thread is, there’s one comment calling her a “man hater,” another saying “Men are better than woman, accept it,” and several making creepy, inappropriate comments about her appearance. It’s a far sight from The Page O’ Hate, but, well, give it time.

    The comments sections I looked at on YouTube related to A+ were Jaclyn’s 2 videos, ThunderF00t’s video and Richard Carrier’s speech.
    http://youtu.be/95LG9crl3yo
    http://youtu.be/au2i3xxgv7U
    http://youtu.be/a61ZgjPN3is
    http://youtu.be/hbRwe9srFfA
    These easily appear to have the most views among A+ themed videos. They also include popular YT Atheist channels. It would be fair to think these videos best represent the large mainstream mass audience. TF and Jaclyn’s videos overwhelmingly have a positive like bar. So, like I said, either the abuse involves a minority of this huge audience that specifically seeks out people to harass them (although I should correct: it would be misleading to call such a high volume ‘rare’ even if it is a small minority), or the abuse constitutes one population and popular videos attract a different audience. Either way, it is wrong to call the abuse “fairly representative” of this large audience that opposes A+.

    More and more, it’s looking like your problem with “dogma” is a very narrow one, and not at all specific to or characteristic of Atheism+.

    That problem is unsupported assertions and expectations of agreement through brute social pressure.

    Right, atheism has no set of principles. Organized atheists–Movement Atheism, if you prefer–does indeed have a set of principles, like belief in the separation of church and state, promotion of science and secularism, and forming groups, communities, and events to reach out and talk about issues of importance to atheists. None of these principles derives from atheism, but they are promoted and enforced by Movement Atheism through social pressures.

    Secularism involves the support of non-religious institutions. Separation of Church and State is necessary if atheists are to be equal citizens. Both causes relate to rejection of religion and therefore, atheism. When it comes to science I often find support based on the actual science that has been done and its utility. If someone says something like “science is the only way to know anything”, yes, I consider that dogmatic.
    Also, is movement atheism a singular entity? Richard Dawkins has argued for the values you name in his books and the RDF then supports his values.

    I wish I’d twigged to your equivocation here earlier, between “atheism” as the lack of belief in gods and “atheism” as the affiliation of people who are atheists. With clear definitions, can you accept that Atheism+ and Movement Atheism are both dogmatic by your standards?

    Equivocation? I stated in the other comments section you read:

    How do atheistic behavior, attitudes, and beliefs derive from a negative belief? There are no consequences from atheism, there are consequences from belief systems that happen to exclude the theist position.

    Athiests are dogmatic or not based on their independent belief systems. I don’t see any reason that movement atheists will either be homogeneous in this regard. I’ve heard things from movement atheists that would be dogmatic by my standards and others that are not.

    Great, please show a derivation of an inalienable right.

    I was referring to the purpose of morality, the decisions people make, and the inalienability of those rights. Purpose of morality requires there be a cause of moral doctrines. That can be implied from induction of, for example, moral principles being found across cultures. The decisions people make evidently have moral implications. If premise one applies without support from a united human authority then the rights derive their basis from some universal authority.

    Before you get on that, though, can you explain how a moment ago you were against “dogmatic application” of statements in the Constitution, but earlier you lauded a system where “anything that can be reasoned to oppose inalienable rights can be rejected”? If any law opposing the inalienable rights can be rejected without re-litigating and re-deriving the inalienable rights, isn’t that a dogmatic application?

    I’d say that each case involves a comparison to prior cases and requires the judgment as to whether there is some difference that further defines rights. Also, courts can overturn precedents by reevaluating and re-deriving.

    And if not, how is it different from feminists moving forward with their goals without feeling the need or desire to renegotiate basic values every time someone raises a frequently-answered objection?

    I don’t think it is different.

    Why is there that requirement? Who enforces that requirement? Is that requirement enforced through social pressure? Is that requirement binding?

    There is a requirement because otherwise the conversation is arbitrary to sources of validity.
    Like I said before:

    I don’t mean to suggest that there should be some arbiter of who is allowed to judge whom. I want to make the point that there can in principle be the notion that certain reasons for judgment are more valid than others. In that context someone can aim to make their judgment valid. Of course, ultimately they are only answerable to social forces such as evolution. Evolution can however favor objectivity just as the ability for animals to fly depends objectively on the requirements for flight.

    It was mostly a rhetorical question, because I read your initial posts in that thread: you did not offer evidence or reasoning to support your claim, only the claim and some related possibilities. I’ll also note that the way you stated it sure made it seem like it was more than opinion, and yet you made no effort to avoid being dogmatic.

    I said:

    I don’t generally side with Jaclyn on feminism, but feminists do emphasize discrimination against women. However, every contribution to that effect may have parallels with diverse ramifications across the culture. In other words, changing perceptions and attitudes relating to gender may not be sufficient to counter the underlying root causes of the countered behavior. Nor may such superficial solutions necessarily maximize progress. So, she has a point in emphasizing equality.

    My argument is that discrimination represents deviation from standards that would enable equality and fairness. Such deviations are by their nature flawed and therefore consist of mistakes such as logical fallacies, bad assumptions, double standards and many others. These mistakes in thinking are not limited to the superficial nature of surface discrimination. Case in point, the actions I described in that post have “diverse ramifications across the culture”. My full argument was alluded to by my original statement.

    No, it wasn’t. The thread seems to have been moving along quite swimmingly despite the insults. You’re the one who derailed the actual conversation by making Pharyngula commenters’ insults the focus, rather than the actual topic at hand. In other words, the insults distracted you, but you assumed that the problem was everyone else, who was not distracted in that way.

    If you are making the insults the focus you would expect you would not be arguing against the relevant points made and instead spend your time talking about the insults. However, it was the people making insults who were making incomplete or absent arguments against the other side. That suggests to me they were treating the insults as their attempt to counter their opponent while neglecting the discussion.

    You put to them the question “does anyone expect that their opponents will see the light and only return with their spelling and grammar corrected, and in acknowledgment of such obvious virtues?” Do you really think that you’re the first person to bring up the topic of insults in the Pharyngula comments? Did you really expect that your condescension would make the commentariat see the light and return with their language properly bowdlerized, and in acknowledgement of such obvious virtues? Did you seriously chastize people’s use of language in chastizing people’s use of language?

    That comment implied my perception that some comments were ostensibly about one thing while actually engaging in the manner I described. I don’t expect to make a difference by saying something acceptable, but through the strength of ideas.

    The topic of insults has been discussed on Pharyngula before. In actuality, a lot of thought has gone into their use. If you do not like the tone at Pharyngula, if you think it is antithetical to the goals of the Pharyngula commentariat, then chances are good that Pharyngula is not the forum for you.

    If Pharyngula finds that having diametrically opposing viewpoints is antithetical to its goals should it then not be the forum for posting responses to commentary critical of values generally held at Pharyngula?

    You are ignorant of the abuse directed at Atheism+-aligned individuals by the anti-A+ crowd (and more generally against feminists by anti-feminists).

    I was aware of the volume of abuse since I watched Carrier’s video. I dispute it is “fairly representative” of the entire “anti-A+ crowd”.

    You parroted the common misconceptions that the values of Atheism+ were determined dogmatically, that Atheism+ has demands of allegiance, that Atheism+ isn’t presented as a club with which people can associate of their own free will, that Atheism+ proponents claim that their values derive only from atheism, and that Richard Carrier’s initial comments, which even he walked back, are representative of Atheism+ in general.

    Demands of allegiance to the values it supports. I find that in the lack of tolerance of opposing viewpoints on both blogs that posted about Jaclyn’s video.
    A+ might be a club, but one that, as you concede, expresses its values as more than another opinion.
    PZ was the one arguing that values derive from atheism. He didn’t answer whether it was only atheism. I didn’t say that applied to everyone in A+.
    This is tiresome.

    Your argument at Pharyngula, and much of your argument here, has been based on assertions. In fact, in only two instances have you provided anything resembling evidence to support any of your points, and one was in support of the Richard Carrier myth, which is so common as to receive mention on the A+ FAQ page.

    Many points are not easily available to evidence, especially all the epistemology we have been going though. I realize you don’t like my style of argumentation. I find it encourages people to listen and discourages people looking to tear you apart.

    You have asserted that abusive comments, “as far as you know” may have been cherry-picked rather than representative, and have repeatedly said that you have not seen them. If you intended these comments to be somehow relevant to the debate rather than a statement of your own lack of qualification to participate in it, then they constitute an argument from ignorance.

    If I were to conclude that such abuse is infrequent and to use an argument from ignorance then you would expect me to say that I have not seen them. However, it does not follow from my saying I have not seen them that I am making an argument from ignorance. As I argued earlier in this post, my claim about not seeing them on popular A+ related videos counters the claim that abuse is “fairly representative”. If this was the argument you were making you appear to be affirming the consequent, ironically a logical fallacy.

    Continuing to imply that Atheism+ is dogmatic, and that this represents a problem, while making excuses and caveats for other systems which fit under that definition of dogma

    My standard of dogma relates to unsupported assertions being used to exert social pressure. If I were to make excuses for why A+ is dogmatic, you would expect me to differentiate between A+ and others. I acknowledge dogma is widespread among similar comparisons. However, if my standards find A+ to be especially dogmatic then you could expect me to be especially critical of it and to find difference between it and other institutions. If does not follow that because I claim difference than I am applying a double standard. Again you appear to be affirming the consequent.

    and accepting the availability heuristic that your experience at Pharyngula is a representative example of the bad behavior characteristic of Atheism+ but refusing to accept that the bad behavior of anti-feminists which you have not experienced may also be characteristic, both constitute untenable double-standards.

    It is the entire comments section at Pharyngula, not just me at the end. With Anti-A+ I think it is likely that the popular A+ related videos have the most representative audience. At FTB I’ve looked at the comments section (not recently though) of every blog related to Jaclyn’s video. This is at a site strongly related to A+ and at which A+ originated. If you have a sufficient sample size it is representative of a certain audience. It may be possible the audience skews from the general audience, but my point applies that my statements about A+ apply to some segments more than others.

    Are you fucking serious? What, do think you have control of Atheism+? Why single out one set of atheists that you think are dogmatic, and let another one pass because you “have no control over them”? Chalk up another untenable double standard.

    Sigh. I consider such abuse beyond reason. The only way I understand to counter and overcome it is to constructively improve the atmosphere.

    Again, are you fucking serious? You have argued that your treatment in the Pharyngula comments is representative of how Atheism+ proponents behave generally, but it’s not even representative of how Pharyngula’s commenters are expected to behave, and typically do.

    Or, is it only representative of how they act when confronted with strong opposition?

    Yes, it’s been clear that you think of yourself that way since your comment at Pharyngula.

    I notice you’ve dropped points while posturing.

    Yes, “what is dogma” is kind of the key question here, and you’re trying to have it multiple ways. Either dogma is a bad thing that organizations with goals are required to avoid, or it is a word so broad in meaning that it encompasses clubs, countries, and any other organization which works to achieve goals and does not state those goals as mere opinion. If it is the former, then it must be defined more narrowly, if it is the latter it must not be so bad.

    First, those statements can avoid dogma by their language. Also, why must it not be bad? I think it’s reasonable to say that issues of equality for ‘race’ and gender remain even if nearly everyone claims to support equality. It is possible that the causes of the long history of oppression didn’t disappear with the shift in popular opinion about discrimination. Wouldn’t it also be reasonable to expect that after a long history of dogma, the negative elements remain widely entrenched even if popular opinion has shifted against many of the results of dogma? You don’t have to look far back to see slavery, rule by nobility, genocide, colonialism, and other policies related to dogma. So, can otherwise good causes be affected by parallels to those precedents? Can dogma still be widely present and have a subtle negative affects across diverse arenas?

    And we’ve also reached a point where you admit that A+ members may not be dogmatic, and the agenda may not have been arrived at dogmatically, but have moved the goalposts continue to assert that there is some social pressure to believe in it dogmatically, an assertion for which you have not provided any supporting evidence. You’re right, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a pressure to believe in the A+ agenda dogmatically, but it also doesn’t mean that there is, and you have yet to demonstrate that that’s the case. Burden of proof’s in your court, Jack.

    In the context in which there is almost no respect for the positions that oppose A+ values among the atheist community, there can be pressure to agree, regardless of reason, if the values are merely asserted. Look at countries around the world in regards to religion. Many populations are made up overwhelmingly of one religion. So, that supports the notion that there is pressure to conform in this context. Also, I referred to the lack of tolerance for opposition to A+ among, at least, segments of A+ supporters. Is A+ acting like it represents the best of the values and truths humanity has available, or is it just another faction that might happen to have the right positions?

  271. Jack Stone says

    Now…perhaps it really is, as SilentBob suggested, time wind this thread down.

    That sounds like a good idea. I feel like I’ve made all my points relevant to my position. I don’t have the time.

  272. John Morales says

    Jack Stone @299, good on you for making time to inform us that you don’t have time to continue commenting on this thread.

    (Else, how might readers have known?)

  273. says

    @Jack Stone:

    So, like I said, either the abuse involves a minority of this huge audience that specifically seeks out people to harass them (although I should correct: it would be misleading to call such a high volume ‘rare’ even if it is a small minority), or the abuse constitutes one population and popular videos attract a different audience. Either way, it is wrong to call the abuse “fairly representative” of this large audience that opposes A+.

    You looked at four videos, three of which are anti-Atheism+, saw no abuse, and concluded that the abuse must be rare or unrepresentative. Because the place you’re most likely to find anti-A+ abuse is on views that promote an anti-A+ view. Logic!

    It took me less than a minute scrolling through the comments of Carrier’s video to find people calling him a “shit head,” making a point to call him “Dick Carrier,” and saying he was a “divisive cultist.” Whole lot of Thunderf00t fanboys making arguments that sound suspiciously like the one you’ve tried to make here, Jack, but I wouldn’t want to pigeonhole you.

    Incidentally, there is a dedicated (loud) minority that actively seeks out feminists online to harass them. That you remain willfully ignorant of this undeniable fact speaks volumes.

    That problem is unsupported assertions and expectations of agreement through brute social pressure.

    LOL, yeah, you’ve got a problem with unsupported assertions like I’ve got a problem with long comments and blockquotes.

    What “brute social pressure” are Atheism+ proponents exerting, exactly? Why do I suspect that it’s like all the militant actions taken by those darn militant atheists?

    Secularism involves the support of non-religious institutions. Separation of Church and State is necessary if atheists are to be equal citizens. Both causes relate to rejection of religion and therefore, atheism.

    Whoa, whoa, hold the phone there chief. Neither of us said anything about things that relate to atheism. You (and I, responding to it) talked about beliefs and values that derived from atheism, of which there are none, since atheism is not a belief but a lack thereof. In order to get from atheism to secularism or separation of church and state, additional beliefs and values (personal liberty, equality, fairness, etc.) must be invoked.

    Now, if you broaden the scope to include beliefs and values that relate to atheism, then you’re going to have to justify why values like secularism and church-state separation are okay to be under the collective movement atheist umbrella, and why values like equality and social justice aren’t. It’s trivially easy to see how social justice values relate to atheism (without any divine justice, we have to work to ensure fair treatment here; if we reject religion, we have no reason to blindly accept the social roles and mores promoted and enforced by religions and should reevaluate them). You may disagree with those values, but you can’t claim that there’s anything separating them from the other values assumed to be held by atheists.

    Also, is movement atheism a singular entity? Richard Dawkins has argued for the values you name in his books and the RDF then supports his values.

    I don’t understand why Dawkins was invoked here. But yes, movement atheism is largely a single entity, separate from, say, Buddhist atheists and Raelians and Scientologists. It’s a loosely-connected entity, to be sure.

    Purpose of morality requires there be a cause of moral doctrines. That can be implied from induction of, for example, moral principles being found across cultures. The decisions people make evidently have moral implications. If premise one applies without support from a united human authority then the rights derive their basis from some universal authority.

    So, to be clear, you’re saying that we get inalienable rights from evolution?

    I don’t think it is different.

    Great, then you have no objection to the way that the goals and values of Atheism+ have been presented. Thank you for conceding that point.

    There is a requirement because otherwise the conversation is arbitrary to sources of validity.

    Why is that a problem?

    My argument is that discrimination represents deviation from standards that would enable equality and fairness. Such deviations are by their nature flawed and therefore consist of mistakes such as logical fallacies, bad assumptions, double standards and many others. These mistakes in thinking are not limited to the superficial nature of surface discrimination. Case in point, the actions I described in that post have “diverse ramifications across the culture”. My full argument was alluded to by my original statement.

    I don’t think you understand what “assertion” means. Notice that nowhere in this paragraph did you offer any evidence to support your contentions. You only offer your authoritative statements.

    That suggests to me they were treating the insults as their attempt to counter their opponent while neglecting the discussion.

    Or maybe, and I know this is a crazy notion, maybe we’ve been having this same damn conversation for years. Maybe there’s no need to rehash every single fallacy and myth as if it’s the first time it’s ever come up, because it’s not. Maybe it’s because Glenn was making the antifeminist and anti-A+ argumentative equivalents of “if we evolved from monkeys how come there’s still monkeys” and “Piltdown Man was a hoax therefore evolution is false.”

    If Pharyngula finds that having diametrically opposing viewpoints is antithetical to its goals should it then not be the forum for posting responses to commentary critical of values generally held at Pharyngula?

    Lolwut? You said you think insults are antithetical to the goals of Pharyngula, not “diametrically opposing viewpoints.” Insults are not antithetical to their goals, diametrically-opposing viewpoints are, in fact, tolerated so long as they’re within the site’s comment rules.

    I was aware of the volume of abuse since I watched Carrier’s video. I dispute it is “fairly representative” of the entire “anti-A+ crowd”.

    Yes, based on your obviously biased sample set. That your ignorance is willful makes it no less ignorant.

    Demands of allegiance to the values it supports. I find that in the lack of tolerance of opposing viewpoints on both blogs that posted about Jaclyn’s video.

    That is not a demand of allegiance, you knob. It’s a refusal to tolerate ignorance.

    A+ might be a club, but one that, as you concede, expresses its values as more than another opinion.

    As you’ll find nearly any club with an agenda would do.

    PZ was the one arguing that values derive from atheism. He didn’t answer whether it was only atheism. I didn’t say that applied to everyone in A+.

    PZ’s blogged about this issue several times. He’s not under any obligation to be your Google. If you had any interest in finding out what he meant, there were lots of ways of doing so without making baseless assumptions.

    This is tiresome.

    I agree.

    I realize you don’t like my style of argumentation. I find it encourages people to listen and discourages people looking to tear you apart.

    Yes, it’s always so much easier to tear apart arguments when they’re specific and based on evidence. This airy-fairy assertion stuff is much more easily dismissed out of hand.

    However, it does not follow from my saying I have not seen them that I am making an argument from ignorance. As I argued earlier in this post, my claim about not seeing them on popular A+ related videos counters the claim that abuse is “fairly representative”. If this was the argument you were making you appear to be affirming the consequent, ironically a logical fallacy.

    No, in fact, not so much. By saying “I’m not seeing them on these popular videos (where, by virtue of their content, one would not expect to see them), therefore they’re not representative,” you are, in fact, making an argument from ignorance. It just took until this point for you to actually be specific enough to make that clear without an unstated conclusion.

    My standard of dogma relates to unsupported assertions being used to exert social pressure.

    Except that you have not demonstrated that the assertions are unsupported, and you have not established that there is any social pressure exerted (except that people were mean to you in a comment thread). By defining your terms so broadly and reinterpreting them whenever convenient, and by keeping actual evidence to an absolute minimum, you’ve allowed yourself room for nigh-infinite equivocation, special pleading, and motivated reasoning. But you get to pretend to be consistent because you keep saying the same words.

    This is at a site strongly related to A+ and at which A+ originated.

    A+ originated at Blag Hag. You realize different blogs on this network are not the same site, right?

    If you have a sufficient sample size it is representative of a certain audience.

    Not if your sample size is pulled nonrandomly.

    Sigh. I consider such abuse beyond reason. The only way I understand to counter and overcome it is to constructively improve the atmosphere.

    It’s not “constructive” to lecture one group about tone and pretend that they’re representative while ignoring another, far more toxic group, and pretending they aren’t.

    Or, is it only representative of how they act when confronted with strong opposition?

    Strong opposition would have evidence to back up its assertions.

    Can dogma still be widely present and have a subtle negative affects across diverse arenas?

    What I said was that you cannot both define “dogma” as broadly as you have done and retain the negative connotation. Already went to the trouble of explaining it more than once, not going to bother again. Here, you’ve broadened the definition even more, to mean something like “cultural attitudes.” No, the racist and misogynist and other bigoted cultural baggage we’ve inherited didn’t magically disappear when equality was achieved at a legislative level. But they aren’t “dogma” in any meaningful sense of the word.

    In the context in which there is almost no respect for the positions that oppose A+ values among the atheist community, there can be pressure to agree, regardless of reason, if the values are merely asserted.

    The values are not merely asserted. They are the result of all manner of reasoned arguments. That the conclusions of those arguments are not always presented in context with their premises is a mater of practicality and respect. It sends a message to marginalized groups when their humanity and equality must be re-litigated each time it’s brought up, and not a positive one.

    But you can add this to the list of untenable double standards, Jack. Has it ever occurred to you that the “full argument[s]” for the beliefs and values of A+ were “alluded to by [their] original statement[s]“?

    No, of course not, because you’re the only one who’s brilliant enough to think through your positions, and besides they were mean to you and looking not-too-deeply into a few YouTube comment threads makes you an expert anyway.

    I have an idea for how you can constructively improve the atmosphere, Jack.

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