A shoddy and dishonest claim

Christina Hoff Sommers is bragging about being at the top of Amanda Marcotte’s list of seven anti-feminist women in Salon.

Christina H. Sommers @CHSommers · 10h
Cathy Young & I at top of SALON enemy list. We are both pro-choice, pro-LGBT,libertarian-leaning feminists. Our crime? We check feminist facts.

No, that’s not it. If she just did that I’d be all for it. Fact-checking is good. She does much more than that. Amanda summarizes a little of it: [Read more...]

#EstrogenVibe

It’s good that Sam Harris isn’t at all smug or condescending.

harris

Sam Harris @SamHarrisOrg · 5h
Alright, fans of pointless controversy, you win. My next blog post will address my alleged sexism and misogyny. #EstrogenVibe

God forbid he should just look at what he’s quoted as saying, and think about it, and realize the implications of it for half of all human beings, and do something other than sneering at people who object. Hell no. Listen up, peons: he had a best-seller, so he is better than you. End of story.

Epistemology 101

Here’s an explanation for the hard of thinking.

There’s a difference between taking a claim seriously and asserting that it’s true.

There’s a difference between not expressing incredulity about a claim and asserting that it’s true.

There’s a difference between finding claims credible and asserting that they’re true. [Read more...]

Lots of it

This is the kind of thing (and maybe the actual thing) Jessica Meier must have been seeing, to think there’s ” too much money to be made playing the victim”:

bar

Barbara A. Drescher As far as wanting it to stop, the attention and money (yes, there is money involved in appearing to be a victim–lots of it) must be pretty attractive, not to mention the addictive sense of outrage.

Isn’t she supposed to be some kind of skeptic? I know she used to work for the JREF until she…stopped working there. What on earth would make a skeptic credulous enough to think there is lots of money in “appearing to be a victim”? What money?

It’s just batshit, that kind of thing. No, there is not Lots of Money in talking about sexual harassment and the assholes who defend it. There really really isn’t.

Misdirection

So the approach is going to be to pretend that talking about sexual harassment is exactly the same thing as making a formal, criminal accusation of rape – is that it?

That seems to be Dawkins’s approach as of today at least.

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins · 10h
Raping a drunk woman is appalling. So is jailing a man when the sole prosecution evidence is “I was too drunk to remember what happened.”

[Read more...]

A critical point for many people

This is great. It starts with a powerful, inspirational talk by Dawkins in 2006, that changed a lot of minds about religion and related subjects.

That speech was a critical point for a great many people, spurring them to read TGD and other atheist books, to reevaluate their beliefs and to ask questions they’d not asked before – to seek answers they mightn’t have even known were possible to find. Perspectives were changed, as was the social landscape of the internet, not to mention many “real” communities: homes, towns, perhaps countries.

Now, the blogger says, Dawkins needs that kind of experience himself. [Read more...]

That critical posture that is to some degree instrinsically male

Well I’ve thought of Sam Harris as both sexist and smug right from the beginning, i.e. when The End of Faith came out. But one can think of people that way and still be startled when they demonstrate it with underlining and italics and asterisks and ALL CAPS.

Michelle Boorstein interviewed him for a CFI-DC event the other day. At the end she asks him a question we’re well familiar with.

I also asked Harris at the event why the vast majority of atheists — and many of those who buy his books — are male, a topic which has prompted some to raise questions of sexism in the atheist community. Harris’ answer was both silly and then provocative.

It can only be attributed to my “overwhelming lack of sex appeal,” he said to huge laughter.

If only he’d left it at that.

“I think it may have to do with my person slant as an author, being very critical of bad ideas. This can sound very angry to people..People just don’t like to have their ideas criticized. There’s something about that critical posture that is to some degree instrinsically male and more attractive to guys than to women,” he said. “The atheist variable just has this – it doesn’t obviously have this nurturing, coherence-building extra estrogen vibe that you would want by default if you wanted to attract as many women as men.”

In other words, it’s more of a guy thing.

By which I mean –

No. And fuck you. You know what that amounts to saying? It amounts to saying what Michael Shermer did say – that “it’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it, you know, it’s more of a guy thing.” It’s saying that women can’t do sophisticated thinking of any kind, because they’re too estrogen-y and nurturing. If taking a critical posture and being very critical of bad ideas is “instrinsically male and more attractive to guys than to women” then women are fucked; we’re consigned to domestic work and nurturing work and nothing else.

As I said about Shermer’s version – imagine saying that with “guys” replaced with “whites” and “women” replaced with “blacks” – imagine Sam Harris blurting out that stupid shit then.

I think it may have to do with my person slant as an author, being very critical of bad ideas. This can sound very angry to people..People just don’t like to have their ideas criticized. There’s something about that critical posture that is to some degree instrinsically white and more attractive to whites than to blacks,” he said. “The atheist variable just has this – it doesn’t obviously have this nurturing, coherence-building extra estrogen vibe that you would want by default if you wanted to attract as many blacks as whites.

Doesn’t sound good, does it. Sounds so bad that it seems pretty obvious he would censor it before it got anywhere near his mouth. But to say it about women? Oh that’s just fine. Women are soppy slushy sentimental fools who can’t stand to be critical of bad ideas, and guys are the clever rational critical people who do the intellectual heavy lifting.

*spits*