He has never heard a sexist word pass their lips


As some of you have already seen, Jerry Coyne has written a blog post complaining that Adam Lee has had the unmitigated temerity to criticize Richard “Beyond Reproach” Dawkins. This is great, isn’t it? Constantly being told by Important Guy Atheists that other Important Guy Atheists must not be criticized by underlings? It’s like being a nun, or a corporal.

One of the most despicable attacks on Richard Dawkins in recent years (and that’s saying a lot!) has been posted at the Guardian; it’s by Adam Lee, atheist blogger who writes at “Daylight Atheism”. I won’t bother to dissect it in detail because reading it makes me ill. Dissing Richard is a regular thing at the Guardian these days, and there’s no shortage of unbelievers willing to answer the call. Lee’s piece is called “Richard Dawkins has lost it: ignorant sexism gives atheists a bad name.” Read it and weep. If you cheer, you shouldn’t be reading this website.

Blog, he means. It’s a blog. Why Evolution is True is a blog.

It’s one-sided, quoting only the anti-Dawkins Usual Suspects, and accuses not only Dawkins but Sam Harris of “ignorant sexism.” To do so, Lee relies on quotes that have been cherry-picked by people determined to bring down Richard and Sam.

Two men who have not a trace of “ignorant sexism” anywhere in their makeup. No sir! They are the most unsexist two men on the planet. All these quotes that people keep coming up with are…are…they’re forgeries, that’s what!

It’s time to end this relentless and obsessive hounding of Dawkins and Harris.

And go back to treating them as sacred and untouchable, like the Prophet! Right? Should we be adding pbuh to their names too?

And let me say this: I am friends with both Richard and Sam, have interacted with them a great deal, and have never heard a sexist word pass their lips.

Ahhhh well then. That’s definitive. The fact that I think a lot of things “Richard and Sam” have said are sexist is just because I have that overactive womany radar for sexism, which is obviously wrong. The people we want deciding what isn’t sexist are of course men who are friends with men who are said to have said sexist things. Only they know! And only they have sufficiently sluggish radar to do the job properly.

Comments

  1. Maureen Brian says

    One minute these people are arguing that women are all remarkably alike and have brains of an entirely different configuration, etc, etc.

    And then the next thing you know is we use all that extra oestrogen to see and analyse unappealing behaviour and most of them – there are honourable exceptions whom we know – are falling over themselves to say, “If we can’t see it then it doesn’t exist.”

    Gentlemen, you cannot have it both ways!

  2. simulateddave says

    WEIT:

    Read it and weep. If you cheer, you shouldn’t be reading this website.

    Bookmark duly deleted. As disappointed as I was with Coyne spouting the exact. same. garbage. as every other reflexive Harris/Dawkins defender, I probably would have continued reading the BLOG, but it’s Coyne’s house, and he makes the rules. At least I won’t have to continue to put up with the daily non-sequitur from some goddam cat in Poland.

    I can’t help but notice, though, that even the most BanHammer-Happy FreeThought Bully has never suggested that someone’s opinions are so foul that they shouldn’t even be reading FTB.

  3. says

    Someone over there unironically said:

    It is ironic that Sam and Richard get this crap because the two of them are the most thoughtful and polite people when you see them interact with people of quite the opposite disposition.

    just…wrong on both points, obviously this commenter is not paying attention.

  4. jenniferphillips says

    People actually comb through Richard and Sam’s Twi**er feeds, looking for blog fodder: things they can use to smear these guys.

    I literally LOL’ed. Yes, it’s scandalously unfair to read the public statements of these lordly fellows and comment on them. What do people think social media is for, anyway??

  5. arthur says

    I wrote a comment in Jerry’s blog, one of many after reading and commenting on his blog for years.

    He removed it. I’ve never had a comment removed from a blog before

    Here is my comment for posterity

    “I’m assuming that nobody is forcing Dawkins to post these ridiculous comments on twitter; about rape, about feminism, about disability, and so on?

    Dawkins’s reputation is finished as a result of course. They really are that bad. It’s over.

    Moving on, the issue now is why certain atheists remain blind to what’s happened – the meltdown of Dawkins and the collapse of the atheist movement? And why on earth anyone would wish to defend him even now? “

  6. simulateddave says

    WEIT:

    People actually comb through Richard and Sam’s Twi**er feeds, looking for blog fodder: things they can use to smear these guys.

    Yeah, this was comical. Comb through Twitter feeds? You mean … “Follow” them? This is the only thing Dawkins has been tweeting for the last couple of days. Some needle in a haystack, there.

    Or maybe it means that if we’re the sort of people who would read Dawkins and weep, we shouldn’t even be reading his tweets.

  7. says

    Blog, he means. It’s a blog. Why Evolution is True is a blog.

    If there is one thing that Jerry Coyne dislikes more than seeing criticism of Dawkins, it is having his “website” called a blog.

  8. arthur says

    It appears that I have been banned from Jerry’s blog as well.

    After something like 8 years of reading the blog, and commenting on the posts.

    Thanks Jerry :(

  9. Al Dente says

    The unmitigated gall of some people, actually quoting what The Dawk (the piece of Coyne be upon him) and Sam “I’m not a racist, I just play one whenever I open my mouth” Harris have written and then not gushing about how great Dick and Sam are. Who do these critics think they are? They must believe they’re people whose opinions matter.

  10. Wowbagger, honorary Big Sister says

    I’ve just deleted my subscription to WEIT as well. And I’m quite enjoying the hypocrisy of the same people who scream bloody murder about comment moderation/deletion and banning at various FTBs failing to do the same when it’s someone who agrees with them.

  11. arthur says

    A comment that appeared briefly on Jerry’s comment section before he deleted it. Saved for posterity,

    “I don’t see how anyone could read the ‘Dear Muslima’ post and not think that Dawkins was a best tone-deaf and more likely expressing his true anti-feminist feelings. And no one is taking him out of context. He says the same dumb stuff, over and over. And he gets called on it, over and over. If Jerry is a true friend of Dawkins, maybe he could take him aside and explain to him how obnoxious his comments are and how hurtful they are to their targets. Not to mention how they diminish his stature in the atheist/skeptical movement.”

  12. AsqJames says

    That CiF comment Coyne includes a picture of – that’s the best rebuttal to Lee’s argument he could find?

    Shorter Adam Lee: “If atheism really want to make a difference we need to attract as wide a bunch of people as possible – you know expand beyond mostly old, white dudes. Saying sexist (or racist) stuff isn’t going to help that.”

    Shorter Commenter: “You’re attacking Dawkins for being old, white and having a penis? You’re white and have a penis, plus you’ll be old one day.”

    Now the argument has been made that atheism would do better to have more young people, women, and ethnic minorities in prominent positions. And I think that argument has merit, but even that is not in itself a criticism of the leaders who are themselves old, white and male (except indirectly that they’ve failed to help in diversifying their ranks). But Lee wasn’t making that argument anyway. He was attacking sexist views white men had expressed.

    In essence, Lee’s CiF piece criticised sexist actions, and the best criticism of the piece Coyne can find is someone claiming “Ad hominem!”

    In fact, pretty much all the attacks on Lee appear to be based on claiming his article is an ad hominem against Dawkins.

  13. John Morales says

    [meta]

    John-Henry @13, yeah.

    (I like to retort that you can’t pick cherries that aren’t there)

  14. jonmoles says

    I actually didn’t see this post on WEIT because I stopped viewing it a couple of days ago after a comment Jerry left in response to another comment on some post were he was taking FTB to task. It’s nice to see validation that leaving WEIT behind me was the correct thing to do. I was willing to continue to at least drop in and ignore the posts I don’ t like, but this has sealed my decision to never return there.

  15. elephantasy says

    I was going to reply on Coyne’s site, but I can’t, I just can’t. I read the comments thread there, and it is mostly raging nonsense. Adam Lee posted very reasonably, one or two people replied with things they think are “lies” in the article (they aren’t, as has been pointed out quite well by several people elsewhere and by Lee himself), and demanded that he provide sources (he did, in the original article). It’s a mess, and I have insufficient courage to enter the fray.

    I do not understand why “he said a bunch of sexist things” gets a response of “no, he doesn’t hate women”, as if they are the same thing. I do not understand why people jump to defend Dawkins without even considering whether what is being said is true. I do not understand why Dawkins makes such a big deal about relying on evidence, and not on emotion, and yet refuses to look at the evidence about himself, and resorts to emotional name-calling in his tweets.

    And I do not understand why Jerry Coyne would suggest that someone who has a simple disagreement with him should not read his web site. That stings, really badly. I disagree strongly with him on this matter, but his blog is among my favorites. How petty of him to make such a suggestion. He, who previously explicitly refused to enter the discussion on this matter, suggests that those who disagree with his heretofore unspecified position on this issue should not read his web site. I’ll see. If it turns into a feminist-bashing extravaganza on a regular basis, bye bye.

  16. Wowbagger, honorary Big Sister says

    elephantasy wrote:

    I was going to reply on Coyne’s site, but I can’t, I just can’t.

    Given what’s been said about his refusal to truck with any criticism of His Holiness Pope Dawkins, this may more accurate than you think.

  17. Uncle Ebeneezer says

    Blog, he means. It’s a blog. Why Evolution is True is a blog.

    Oh snap! You are breaking both the unfunny (Hitchens) and the non-aggressive (Harris) stereotype for female atheists in one sentence. Well done. Also totally agree with the OP.

  18. essjay says

    For years now my first blogs to read every morning have been Pharyngula and WEIT. I love many of Jerry Coyne’s posts, wildlife photos, Hili’s words, food, travel, and most certainly his battle against religion. I have scrolled past his posts on Israel and Islam, and I have been glad that for the most part he has stayed clear of feminism and social justice. But his recent post about Adam Lee and Richard Dawkins has filled me with despair and sadness. He apparently can only see the attack on his friends Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, and refuses to see why the attack is justified.

    One thing that has always bothered me about Jerry Coyne’s website has been the unacknowledged privilege that it is saturated with. One of the things that has always attracted me about Pharyngula and other FTB blogs has been the diversity in point of view and situation. People that are poor, people that are unemployed, people that are disabled, people that are hated because of who they are.

    I have deleted WEIT from my favorites list. Goodbye Jerry Coyne.

  19. zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait says

    Hold on now. I’ve been told by anti-Feminist Frequency folks and Slymepitters that one of the major reasons they “fight” is because of the violation of their precious free speech. But now we see the same at WEIT. I am sure they will be there to defend my frozen peaches any day now, yessir, such honest paragons of virtue that they are. Any day now.

    Also, it’s nice that they’re declaring atheism dead, seeing as between the “leadership” they are digging a hole big enough to bury the whole movement in 6 feet deep. A real service!

  20. brett says

    I followed Coyne’s blog for a long time, and the guy might as well be a sock puppet for Dawkins. Every time Dawkins was criticized, he angrily rushed to his defense.

  21. says

    First, I love this:

    To do so, Lee relies on quotes that have been cherry-picked by people determined to bring down Richard and Sam.

    Ophelia, you were quoted in Lee’s article. Did you know you were determined to bring down Richard Dawkins? I guess the whole harassment statement was just a clever ploy, then?

    As far as plots to bring people down, quoting what they say in public interviews and on social media seems to be the sneakiest, most diabolical one yet.

    It’s time to end this relentless and obsessive hounding of Dawkins and Harris.

    I don’t know, I can’t remember the last time anyone said anything at all about Harris before he stuck his foot in his mouth about estrogen vibes. And we all relented, to one degree or another, on Dawkins, when it looked like–with the statement on harassment and the apology for Dear Muslima–he was actually coming around. Maybe, and this is crazy I know, maybe guys like Dawkins and Harris should end their relentless and obsessive insistence on saying asinine, ignorant, and bigoted things in public.

    I’ve read WEIT less and less over the last couple of years. I tried to be fair and ignore Coyne’s passive-aggressive jabs at FTB, which was easy since I only read occasional posts and never the comments. But even before this post, I’ve grown increasingly annoyed by his affectations. The aversion to “Blog” is one thing, but refusing to write “dog” or “Twitter” just grated on me. Deleting that out of my Feedly was a long time coming, and I’m happy to finally have the clear reason to do it.

  22. thephilosophicalprimate says

    Jerry Coyne has made a few ill-considered comments on feminist criticism of the atheist community in the past, but never anything that made me think he was *this* level of knee-jerk wagon-circling old boys’ network jackass. Now that I’ve seen him show himself in that light — which is just a polite way of saying he was *really* showing his ass in that post — I can’t unsee it. I haven’t lost my respect for his contributions as a scientist and science communicator — but that doesn’t matter much when I’ve lost my respect for him as a person. His BLOG is off my reading list, per his own asinine, petulant request.

    I didn’t bother trying to comment on his post. He’s clearly not educable due to complete unwillingness to actually listen to disagreement, or he wouldn’t have written that awful post in the first place. I’m wholly unsurprised that he’s deleting pretty much all dissent and banning people left, right, and center: The last paragraph of his post has that ought-to-be-patented Jerry Coyne “I HAVE SPOKEN AND THAT IS THAT!” tone of finality.

    But Jerry, here’s the thing about having the last word: It works a lot better when you’re right. In contrast, it doesn’t work at all when you’re completely wrong, and lots and lots of people KNOW you’re completely wrong, and they can explain exactly HOW you’re completely wrong in excruciating detail. In those circumstances, your self-declared authoritative final pronouncement really just makes you sound like a total jackass.

  23. funknjunk says

    @Arthur #1 – It’s rich that he deleted your comments, seeing as many of the commenters there are complaining about PZ’s community, being banned, etc. etc. Yes, “rich” is the nicest word I can come up with ….. (note: the website did not allow me to log in properly .. dunno what’s up. but i’m me….)

  24. Al Dente says

    cityzenjane @30

    It gets even more ridiculous. He refuses to write “Twitter” and refuses (and insists that others not) write “dog” on his not-a-blog.

  25. Colin Daniels says

    I truly believe that they are all just upset about the ridicule that was directed at their Intergalactic Secular Federation, or whatever it was called.

  26. Oscar says

    It really is hard to find such sanctimonious gibberish from you guys attacking people who are – by all realistic measures – as feminist as they can possibly be in this day and age, and who have actually and undeniably made something tangible for everything progressive, secular, and egalitarian in the whole world, not just your little online tribe.
    Unlike we “keyboard warriors”, they’ve actually changed people all over and given them a voice when no one else dared say what they said unapologetically.
    Too bad that for you righteous people they’re white old guys not living up to your miopic, overprivileged standards.

  27. jijoya says

    “Dog” is anathema on his blog because…? He was bitten by one as a toddler? It reads “god” when you start from the wrong end? He’s a cat person? (Apologies, I’ve always been aware of WEIT but that’s as far as my familiarity goes. Sadly, I’m starting to see this as a good thing. There’s only so much I can handle in the “Prominent male I used to admire proving to be one of the less progressive thinkers of the 17th century” department.)

  28. Colin Daniels says

    Well, yes, I was being a bit silly but I have noticed a marked increase in hostility from that group of “leaders” towards FTB since that episode. I’m sure that it was a big shock to their egos to find that not everyone loved their idea as much as they did.

  29. Al Dente says

    Coyne is very much a cat person. I’ve got no problem with that, I’m a cat person myself. The refusal to allow d-o-g to appear on his don’t-call-it-a-blog started out as a joke. The joke stopped being funny a long time ago but the prohibition is still in force.

  30. Mark Erickson says

    Richard Himself posted a comment on Jerry’s blog. It starts:

    “I long ago declared that I would not wish to go on living if I found myself in a world dominated by people who no longer care about what’s true and express open contempt for factual evidence.”

    Whaaaa? It gets worse.

  31. jijoya says

    I see. The joke-dogmatism sounds rather in character in view of recent events.

    (After years of profound reflection I still can’t decide if I’m a cat or a dog person. I’m a rabid fan of both species, so I’d probably have felt both amused and bemused if I’d been there for the joke.)

  32. Alex says

    jijoya

    Surely you mean d*gmatism.

    Sigh I hoped he’d just keep his knee jerk posts on these matters to himself this time. There’s nothing rational about him in these situations. That’s annoying, but at least he’s honest about not admitting criticism of his friends out of principle.

  33. screechymonkey says

    Yeah, the “don’t say dog” thing is a joke. And I think the “it’s not a blog” thing is kind of a joke, but not really. It’s the same reason why he refuses to write “tweet” when quoting something someone said on Twitter.

    You see, a “blog” is a place where silly people write about frivolous topics like their footwear, what they ate yesterday, and pictures of cats. Jerry Coyne’s website is not a blog because… uh, we’ll get back to you on that.

  34. AndrewD says

    As I said at P.Z.’s place, I gave up on Coyne due to his rapid Zionism, this is just further proof of his lack of Humanity

  35. Hj Hornbeck says

    Ooooohhhh no. A friend casually mused about the “rift” in the movement, and it got me re-assessing the political lay of the land. Over the span of a few hours, those casual thoughts have spiraled downwards into a Lovecraftian nightmare. The “Deep Rifts” are gradually becoming less about the role of social justice within the atheist/skeptic movement.

    Increasingly, it’s instead about hate.

    “Hate speech” is one of those tricky-wobbly definitions, sometimes defined in terms of “community standards” but more commonly as inciting violence or offense against certain groups. I think you can put the term on firmer footing with a dab of philosophy.

    1) Saying “All atheists feast on roast baby” isn’t hate speech if it was true that every atheist did hold a baby BBQs. So to qualify as hate speech, it must be false.
    2) “All atheists are exactly two metres tall” is false but not hate speech, though. So there’s an emotional component.
    3) “All atheists are super-nice and proud patriots” is false and instills emotion, but it instills positive vibes. So we mean just negative emotions here. By extension, if I jokingly say “all atheists feast on roast baby” to other atheists that know the meme, it’s not hate speech.
    4) Here’s a tricky one: if someone who doesn’t know the meme overhears me say “all atheists feast on roast baby,” and takes me to be sincere, am I promoting hate? Note that if this becomes problematic, it’s because the listener had a negative emotional reaction. The audience, and specifically their knowledge and interpretation, is critical.
    5) What about violence? There are a lot more ways to harm someone than physically, so making that a minimum requirement seems arbitrary. If it encourages “mere” discrimination, that’s bad enough.

    Summing it all up, “hate speech” is best considered “false speech that encourages negative emotions in someone towards at least one person.” Which carries an eerie familiarity.

    But why do you believe that liar in the Guardian? Isn’t it obvious that what he says is false?

    False speech? Dawkins certainly says it is. Encouraging negative emotions? It’s not stated, but that seems fair to say Dawkins thinks a piece in the Guardian that speaks ill of him qualifies. Towards a person? Yep, that would be Dawkins. So from his point of view, Adam Lee’s piece is hate speech according to what I’ve defined above.

    But we get a double dose of it here. Dawkins calls Adam Lee a liar, but never elaborates and other people have been unable to find these lies. So that’s false speech on Dawkin’s part. Encouraging negative emotions? Well, Lee certainly got yelled at on Twitter. Towards a preson? Lee this time. So Dawkins himself is guilty of hate speech.

    We see the same pattern in Jerry Coyne, only far more blatant.

    One of the most despicable attacks on Richard Dawkins in recent years (and that’s saying a lot!) has been posted at the Guardian; it’s by Adam Lee, atheist blogger who writes at “Daylight Atheism”. I won’t bother to dissect it in detail because reading it makes me ill. […]

    It’s time to end this relentless and obsessive hounding of Dawkins and Harris. […] These men do not hate women, and their opponents are ideologues.

    Coyne sees the criticism of Dawkins and Harris as hate speech, but at the same time gushes out emotionally-triggering language that appears to target feminists (“You may discount that if you wish since I have a Y chromosome, but I speak the truth.”), much of which simply isn’t true.

    Mike Nugent? Third verse, same as the first

    [PZ Myers] routinely demonises people in a way that he doesn’t do in person, and that he recognises as unfair when others do it to him. He routinely attacks people as individuals, as opposed to merely attacking their ideas or behaviour. […]

    I have no idea what PZ thinks he will gain by continuing to publicly attack named people in this personalised way. I don’t think it is a response to ‘the deep rifts’. He was personally hostile to creationists before that, and many people, including me, did not challenge that …

    Sam Harris? Not to the same extent, but

    Many liberal blogs erupted in scorn, which eventually led to a private email exchange with a well-known feminist-atheist blogger. This conversation was every bit as hopeless and dispiriting as my encounter at my book signing in D.C. Here was a woman who imagined herself to be bettering the world by fighting for gender equality, and yet she appeared far more concerned that I had “co-opted” Malala and “denied her agency” by ignoring her religious beliefs than that a Taliban thug had put a bullet in her brain. I’m tempted to name this person—so pure and smug and sanctimonious and incorrigible was her moral blindness.

    Over the past month or so, with Dawkins leading the charge, a number of prominent atheists have felt like they’ve been targeted by hate speech, while simultaneously dishing out hate speech towards the portion of the atheist/skeptic movement promoting feminism and social justice. At the same time, I haven’t heard a peep about the old arguments we used to have over the role of social justice within atheism and skepticism.

    The “rift” has shifted, and for the worse.

  36. G A Southgate says

    I used to ignore his ‘bad’ posts and and only read the stuff I felt he was good at. Apparently that is not allowed, so much for scepticism & rationality.
    WEIT bookmark deleted! End of …

  37. dereksmear says

    @40

    Yeah, his defences of the IDF during the recent slaughter in Gaza were pretty sickening.

    The thing that really annoys me about Coyne is that he censors critical comments and bans people.

  38. says

    Popped over to WEIT for the first time in years and read the comments. Many I couldn’t tell if they were criticizing PZ or Dawkins until the second paragraph. So many started with “no one should be beyond criticism” and similar sentiments, and then went on to complain about FTB. So weird.

  39. Brony says

    My thoughts on Coyne.

    It’s amazing how many things are included that are just there to justify the fact that he is not going to show why the Adam Lee article is wrong.

    I won’t bother to dissect it in detail because reading it makes me ill.

    Why does it make Coyne ill? Why won’t he dissect it? Without that I have no idea how to judge his reasoning and have no reason to take him seriously.

    Dissing Richard is a regular thing at the Guardian these days, and there’s no shortage of unbelievers willing to answer the call.

    “Dissing”? If someone uses a word like that to reject criticism with no accompanying reason or logic they are also quite possibly prejudiced. I can’t tell the difference since the one thing I need is missing.

    If you cheer, you shouldn’t be reading this website.

    In this context it’s pretty clearly a “you are with me or against me” type of thing. OK Coyne, I won’t be reading your website. On this issue I am certainly against you since I think people should always be able to back up strongly held emotional opinions, something you can’t do but many here at FTB have.

    As for the rest.
    Specifically chosen quotes are only “cherry-picked” if they are somehow wrongfully used in an argument. Things can be specifically chosen and still support a point.

    Criticizing sexism, and casual and rude treatment of sensitive topics is not “obsessive hounding”. If someone is saying something bad on twitter they should get called out on it. If someone were to knock on Dawkins’s and Harris’s doors every day to bother them about this that would be closer.

    As a person who has screwed up in trying to help on woman’s issues and many other issues I know very well that anyone can say they want to help. Dawkins and Harris can say they are concerned with women’s rights, but if their actions and words at other times contradict these stated views we get to talk about that.
    And there is nice poisoning of the well by suggesting that his words will be discounted because he is man. That is prejudice designed to counter criticism Coyne has not even gotten yet. Coyne shows no signs of being interested in reality beyond “stop bothering my friends!”

    Why is Nugent being “vilified”? If you say why and show it that spreads information. You post is all emotion and no information designed for the already convinced to emotionally bond. When you bear resemblance to a bunch of creationists mutually shoring up one another emotionally I get suspicious. I joined this community because we were able to move past our outrage to look at reality, on some things anyway.

    Coyne is looking less like an ally to me. He may be good against creationism but if he is not so good at recognizing the underlying problems that make belief in creationism work in other areas I feel that his ability to counter the harm of religion is limited.

  40. says

    I deleted the link to Jerry’s blog last week because of this stuff. It’s not just that he jumped the shark, but has kept going around and jumping it again and again. At least the Fonz did it once and let it go.

  41. says

    @HJ Hornbeck: I think the quibble if have with your definition is the need to distinguish “hate speech” from general insults and attacks, which I don’t necessarily know should be lumped together. Specifically, I think “hate speech” entails speech that fits your criteria, but is directed at one or more persons in a specific group (generally a marginalized group), or directed at a person because they belong to a specific group, or have associations (real or imagined) with said group. Hate speech, then, would include things like accusing atheists of eating babies, or saying “Richard Dawkins has no morals because he’s an atheist,” or accusing PZ Myers & Rebecca Watson of being Jewish as an insult. It wouldn’t, necessarily, include “Richard Dawkins eats his own poop,” since that has nothing to do with any group.

  42. Daryl Carpenter says

    I’m very disappointed with Coyne, but I did see it coming. He’s been pretty passive aggressive about feminist issues for a while, and coupling this with his Zionist views I now feel I have a good reason to delete the WEIT bookmark in my browser. I’ll miss his blog or whatever he calls it a great deal. I’ll still agree with him on most things (I’m also a cat person) but I can’t ignore his blindness to the things Dawkins has said and utter disregard to consider an opposing view on his friends (I found his openness to ban commenters on his blog alarming even before this happened. Sure, it’s his place so that’s his prerogative, but even so…) The wagon-circling is the very opposite of what you would want to hear from supposedly rational people. It truly is what you’d expect from a heavily religious mindset. Like many have said, where are the actual lies in Adam’s post?

    I’m only a long-time lurker on Freethought Blogs (I commented more on WEIT, although hardly a regular). Dawkins raised my consciousness about atheism and religion; in the past few years various Freethought Blogs have raised my consciousness concerning feminism and I’m very glad that has happened. Thank you.

  43. says

    As many have already said, this post of Jerry’s made me very sad. And sick. I know Jerry professionally, as a grad student in evolutionary biology myself (and also from the Tom Johnson fiasco, but that’s another story). I suppose this shouldn’t have been surprising, but I was definitely shocked specifically at his remark that anyone who disagrees with him should not be reading his website. This was the final straw for me, and I will not be going back.

    I posted this comment (and took a screenshot)–

    Hi Jerry,
    This post makes me very sad and upset. I will always respect you highly as an accomplished evolutionary biologist, and you have provided invaluable encouragement to me in my career, but I’m afraid I can no longer continue to visit your website. As a woman in a male dominated field, women’s issues are very important to me, and I cannot stand to see our concerns taken so lightly and belittled.

  44. says

    Well that sums up what he thinks of you and your concerns pretty well I’d say.

    Erasure. It’s what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Hey I watched the movie about Steubenville last night “The Attack”….same exact play book… EXACTLY.

    But of course these guys I am sure think themselves so much better than a crew of football players.

  45. Corvus Whiteneck says

    The obsession with food, boots, & cats is fine. The censoring of dog, blog and tweet is lame. The biased Zionism is tiresome. But I stopped going to WEIT regularly when he was so unabashed in his delight at being an invited TAM speaker in 2013 — it was a red flag and I needed to cut back my blog reading in general b/c time constraints… it seems I was not mistaken.

  46. Hj Hornbeck says

    Tom Foss @52:

    I think the quibble if have with your definition is the need to distinguish “hate speech” from general insults and attacks, which I don’t necessarily know should be lumped together. Specifically, I think “hate speech” entails speech that fits your criteria, but is directed at one or more persons in a specific group (generally a marginalized group), or directed at a person because they belong to a specific group, or have associations (real or imagined) with said group.

    That line feels pretty arbitrary to me. The net effect is usually the same, as are the tactics, so why draw the distinction? The best counter-argument I can think of is the one from tradition: “hate speech” has always referred just to certain minorities, so let’s keep it that way. I don’t put much truck in that, as you create the obvious problem of defining “certain minorities” without really improving the definition.

    There’s an easy way to separate hate speech from insults, too. Observe:

    OK: The Pope is an asshole, because of the way he shelters priests that abuse small children.
    OK: The Pope is an asshole (and from the context, it’s clear we’re discussing the way he shelters priests).
    WRONG: The Pope is an asshole (with no context).

    Insults are actually an indicator of the speaker’s internal state, rather than making a factual claim about the target. Anger without justification is blind hate, though, and so there must be some explanation present. This makes insults a lot like punctuation; they provide additional information to the reader or listener, but aren’t necessary to communicate and cannot substitute for ideas.

  47. says

    I deleted WEIT a little while back, too, in part because of his blinding Zionism (I considered myself a Zionist, once… more recently than I care to admit, in fact), and in part because of his swipes at FTB. Y’all remember when he passively-aggressively mused over whether or not Dawkins qualified as a “gender traitor” or something like that?

    Also, I always wondered if the barbs over cats between him and PZ were a joke, but now I’m starting to think that maybe he took them more seriously than PZ did…

    Doesn’t allow dog to be written on his… BLOG…

  48. says

    Yes, I remember that there have been several passive-aggressive barbs. I assume there’ve been more than I’m aware of, because I hardly ever read his blog now – but people have told me about some.

    One notably passive bit of passive-aggression was when he mentioned “the two celebrity judges” of his best cat contest, Miranda and Russell. Only there weren’t two, there were three – but that was before he cc’d me on that email.

  49. Börndi says

    Dear Ophelia,

    yes, Coynes blog is just a blog but I sadly must say that when you compare content, he beats your blog by all measures (the same is by the way true when you go to Dawkins site) .
    He has interesting articles and comments and discussions on science, history, atheism, politics, lots of things with substance. Compare this with what you are doing at the moment. It is sad to see. Do you want to be a great feminist or atheist or do you want to go on doing what you are doing now???

  50. says

    Börndi – well sure, I know that. His blog content is staggeringly good. I didn’t intend to deny that.

    But despite the quality, I stay away from it, for the reasons I mentioned.

    As for what I’m doing now – well, as soon as the Important Guys stop defending each other at the expense of us underlings, I’ll happily go back to other subjects. I keep trying to do that, but the Important Guys keep waving their Important Guys flag.

  51. carlie says

    Yes – Borndi’s question is like someone complaining “Why won’t you say anything other than ‘ouch stop it’?” while they’re repeatedly punching you in the arm.

  52. Seven of Mine: Shrieking Feminist Harpy says

    Aren’t trolls are adorable when they talk like their personal preferences are objective truth?

  53. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Well, I’ve never personally seen a Nazi persecute a Jew, therefore…..what? I’d ask on Jerry’s blog, but he’d probably delete the post.

    Oh, WEIT bookmark has been deleted. Thanks Jerry! :)

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