The arbiter of what feminists should or shouldn’t get upset about

Michael Nugent has a terrible, patronizing, let-me-fix-this post chastising Adam Lee for his article quoting Dawkins’s recent forays into anti-feminism. I’m very tired of Michael’s self-appointed let-me-fix-this posturing, and I was going to ignore the post, but then I saw on Twitter that Adam had responded so I clicked on the link, which turned out to be to a comment – a very good comment – on Michael’s post.

You said that you were going to address the question of where my article was “inaccurate”, but the majority of your article is a complaint about various choices of wording I made, the thrust of which is that it’s unfair for me to use emotive language in support of the conclusions I advocate. I reject this. [Read more...]

Sleepwalking towards that feared world

Adam Lee is taken aback at Richard Dawkins’s comment on Jerry Coyne’s blog post yesterday (the one about Adam’s Comment is Free article about Dawkins).

I saw that comment yesterday, and I saw that it was bad, but I didn’t have time to do it justice. Adam has done it justice; read his post. I want to say a thing or two about it myself.

Thank you, Jerry.

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. Either a 1984 world where the Party in power is the sole arbiter of what is “true” and enforces it with violence; or a world where truth is whatever society deems it to be, regardless of evidence, and where dissenters are ruthlessly punished by vitriolic abuse or ostracism rather than violence.

I fear we are sleepwalking towards that feared world, where people shun evidence and despise facts: a world where dogma is king, emotion is queen and evidence is exiled; and where dissent from orthodoxy is suppressed by verbal if not physical jackboots.

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Help Vyckie Garrison

Got any spare cash burning a hole in your pocket? You could do worse than helping Vyckie Garrison of No Longer Quivering keep her house. The appeal is here. A friend of hers writes:

I know I have a deep gratitude for the support she’s given freely to dozens of former QFers who’ve come to No Longer Quivering for help in escaping and recovering from spiritual abuse. She’s poured her life into the website and support group, as well as helping other Quiverfull walkaways to establish their own websites in order to increase awareness of the problem of spiritual abuse: The Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network at NLO. In honor of Vyckie’s hard work helping others I have started a crowdfunding campaign as a project of NLQ to raise the money necessary to save Vyckie’s house. Vyckie has agreed to allow me to share this part of our FB chat conversation in order to let others know about her desperate situation.

I’m proud to say this courageous woman is my friend. She’s struggled to support herself and her family after leaving the Quiverfull movement. While Vyckie has been instrumental in helping others she now needs help to stay in her home with her children.  It’s why I’m asking you to help her, particularly if you’ve been helped by Vyckie and NLQ.

Please spread the word.

Isn’t it obvious?

Adam Lee thinks Dawkins needs better defenders.

This week, I published a column in the Guardian arguing that Richard Dawkins’ sexism is overshadowing his contributions to the atheist movement. It got, shall we say, a large reaction. But not all negative, I hasten to add! I was very pleased with the amount of praise and compliments it attracted – I heard from a lot of people who told me that I said exactly what they’ve been thinking (including this piece by Allegra Ringo in Vice, published the same day as mine).

Because believe it or not, Jerry & Russell & Michael & the rest of the gang, we are not the only ones who are noticing Dawkins’s Twitter freakouts, and he’s not actually doing a fabulous job of PR for atheism right now. You clearly want to think it’s all just an attempt to grab the throne for ourselves or some such damn fool thing, but it’s not. I, for instance, would like a much less sexist atheist movement. I have zero hope of getting it at this point, but that’s what I want.
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Sam Harris is one of its latest victims

A few days ago Andrew Sullivan put on his George Will hat and did a big harrumph about political correctness run mad. Apropos of what? Why, poor browbeaten (or should I say pussywhipped?) Sam Harris. I usually don’t expect to see Sullivan leaping to the defense of vocal atheists.

Writers are not just condemned any more for being wrong or dumb or rigid. They are condemned as sexist, racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, blah blah blah – almost as a reflex in trying to discredit their work. That’s particularly true when it comes to fascinating issues like race or gender or sexual orientation, where liberalism today seems to insist that there are absolutely no aggregate differences between genders, races, ethnicities, or sexual orientations, except those created by oppression and discrimination and bigotry. Anyone even daring to bring up these topics is subjected to intense pressure, profound disapproval and ostracism. This illiberal liberalism is not new, of course. But it’s still depressingly common.

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I don’t want to play this, then

Father. Daughter. Superhero board game. Open the box. No female characters.

“What girl can I be?” Cassie asked, digging through the game pieces.

“I don’t think there are any girls, sweetie,” I said, anger building in me. Cause really, DC & Wonder Forge? WTF? You know it’s 2014, right?

Cassie put down the game pieces. “I don’t want to play this, then.” She turned and moved to leave the room, and it broke my heart. In part for her, and in part because I love superheroes, and this should be something we can share.

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We don’t have to go looking

Amanda Marcotte is amusing about Sam Harris and his tantrum about horrid people saying he said something sexist and wrong and silly.

Nah, he can’t be wrong. He’s Sam Harris! And so he’s going to drown us in words to show how mean we are to criticize him about his suggestion that being female makes us less critical and ugh, getting a headache now. Let’s just get into it. His response is titled, “I’m Not the Sexist Pig You’re Looking For“. Indeed, as his comments showed, we don’t have to go looking for sexist pigs, as they happen to fall right in our laps. I would like, in fact, for sexist pigs to quit falling in my lap, honestly.

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Justice and mercy in Iran

Let’s take a moment to be grateful for something. I’ll choose not being a blogger in Iran. I’m so glad I’m not a blogger in Iran. One guy who is a blogger in Iran has been sentenced to death for insulting the prophet. You’d think somebody who has been dead for 1400 years could put up with being insulted – I mean who gets upset if someone insults Alfred the Great or Boethius or Eirik the Red? But Iran is different that way.

According to an ‘informed source’,speaking to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Soheil Arabi, 30, had kept eight Facebook pages under different names and admitted to posting material insulting to the Prophet on these pages. [Read more...]

Guest post: A Statistical Analysis of a Sexual Assault Case

Guest post by J H Hornbeck
(part 1: statistics for the people, and of the people)

I just can’t seem to escape sexual assault. For the last six months I’ve analyzed the Stollznow/Radford case, and more recently finished an examination of Carol Tavris’ talk at TAM2014, so that topic has never wandered far from my mind. I’ve bounced my thoughts off other people, sometimes finding support, other times running into confusion or rejection. It’s the latter case that most fascinates me, so I hope you don’t mind if I write my way through the confusion.

The most persistent objection I’ve received goes something like this: I cannot take population statistics and apply them to a specific person. That’s overgeneralizing, and I cannot possibly get to a firm conclusion by doing it. [Read more...]

Often, a member making an accusation faces reprisal

Via Jen Phillips: University of Oregon researchers urge psychologists to see institutional betrayal.

Oh yes? [ears go up like a dog's] I’m very interested in that right now.

In their paper, UO doctoral student Carly P. Smith and psychology professor Jennifer J. Freyd draw from their own studies and diverse writings and research to provide a framework to help recognize patterns of institutional betrayal. The term, the authors wrote, aims to capture “the individual experiences of violations of trust and dependency perpetrated against any member of an institution in a way that does not necessarily arise from an individual’s less-privileged identity.”

An institution…like…a church? A university? The military? The NFL? Corporations, government, non-profits, political movements? [Read more...]